Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The race for the purchase of 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft narrowed down to five bidders with the ouster of French manufacturer Dassault, which is offering Rafale, at the end of the technical evaluation by the Defence Ministry.

Sources in the Ministry said the bid by Dassault fell short of the required qualitative parameters listed in the Request for Proposal issued in 2007 for the combat aircraft manufacturers to respond.

“Technical evaluation complete”

On Wednesday, the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major told correspondents that the technical evaluation of the six bidders was complete and that the Indian Air Force was expected to start field trials by next month end.

The sources said the IAF would draw its programme for field trials to be held in the next three months.

These trials are conducted in different areas and in varying climatic conditions keeping in view the operational requirements of the IAF.

Five bidders

The five bidders who are in the fray for the approximately $ 10 billion (Rs. 48,000 crore) are: the Swedish SAAB (Grippen), American Lockheed Martin (F-16) and Boeing (F18 Super Hornet), Russian (MiG-35) and European consortium Eurofighter (Typhoon).