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10 December 2023

Dassault beat Eurofighter 'hollow' in India deal


India's selection of Dassault Aviation as the preferred bidder for a 126-fighter jet deal was largely based on a price tag 25 percent cheaper than the French firm's Eurofighter rival, a report said Friday.

The Times of India quoted a defence ministry source as saying the Eurofighter consortium bid with its Typhoon jet would have cost $5 billion more than Dassault's Rafale fighter.

"The French Rafale jet... beat the Typhoon hollow both in terms of lifecycle costs and direct acquisition costs," the source said, adding that the ministry of defence had consequently ruled out "any comeback" for the Typhoon bid.

The Eurofighter consortium groups Britain's BAE Systems, Italy's Finmeccanica and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that he would urge India to reconsider its decision to opt for the Rafale over the British-backed Eurofighter plane.

Dassault will enter exclusive negotiations with India next week to try and reach agreement on a final contract for the sale of the 126 multi-combat fighters.

The total cost of the deal has been estimated at between $12 billion and $20 billion.

The huge contract to supply war planes to fast-developing India had been fiercely fought over for four years.

In April last year, India pulled a surprise by cutting out US bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin -- much to Washington's disappointment -- as well as dropping Sweden's Saab AB and the Russian makers of the MiG-35 from the race.