As the race for the multibillion-dollar tender for 126 medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) edges closer to conclusion with user-trials progressing as per schedule, Eurofighter, one of the six contenders, offers a cutting-edge technology without the End User Monitoring clause.

“It is really a next generation plane and it will be in service for the next 30 to 40 years. It also comes without any End User Verification, complete transfer of technology and production,” German ambassador Thomas Matussek told The Hindu.

End User Monitoring, which created a political controversy earlier this year, is a requirement the United States insists on countries to which it supplies sensitive military equipment. American firms Lockheed Martin (F16) and Boeing (F/A18) are in the fray along with the Russian MiG, Swedish SAAB (Grippen) and French Dassault (Rafale).

Barring the first batch that will be supplied off-the-shelf, all fighters will have to be made in India under transfer of technology. Mr. Matussek said the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) would shift its entire technology, which means that in the event of war, the country will not have to worry about supplies from overseas.

As for software code supply, the ambassador said it would be much higher than what some competitors including from the U.S. might offer.

Germany has been nominated by the four-country consortium of EADS, which produces the Eurofighter, as the lead country to pitch for the fighter aircraft in India.

Mr. Matussek, while admitting that the Eurofighter was dubbed “expensive,” by competitors, said the life cycle maintenance cost would even out the initial high price.

As per the Defence Procurement Policy, the offset clause makes it mandatory for the manufacturer to source 50 per cent of the value from India.

Strategic partner

Mr. Matussek said Germany was keen on supplying, besides the MMRCA, military equipment including submarines for the Indian Navy. It preferred to have India as a strategic partner and precisely for the reason shelved the decision to supply similar equipment to Pakistan, he said.

As for the IAF’s mid-air refuel tanker, Mr. Matussek said the deal appeared to have hit a snag, with clearance stuck in the Defence Ministry. Although there is no official confirmation, reports indicate that Airbus A330 is preferred to Boeing.

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