Lancashire-based consortium bids for Indian fighter jets deal

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London, May 27 (UNI) A jet-building consortium with a major base in Lancashire has invited India as its newest partner for a five billion contract deal for 126 fighter jets.

The Eurofighter Typhoon, a consortium of three separate partner companies- Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS working through a holding company Eurofighter GmbH, is made up on Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.

Eurofighter officials will today further pursuade Defence Minister A K Antony over the deal at the Berlin Air Show. A high-level delegation of Indian officials is expected to meet with EADS to discuss the deal.

EADS military air solutions chief executive Bernhard Gerwert said, ''India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long-lasting political, industrial and military relations which will be based on a win-win partnership.'' ''We have a strong and committed international team and we will make sure that Eurofighter will be a major player in a fair and transparent competition,'' Mr Gerwert added.

EADS lodged the Eurofighter consortium's bid proposal for India's multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition last month.

Mr Gerwert admitted there were ''challenges'' concerning technology transfer with India, but said it would meet them.

He said, ''Our team is working extremely hard in order to meet these requirements. As a fast growing and dynamic country, India is not only regarded as a market but most importantly as a partner for joint industrial and military projects in the future.'' A deal with India would be a major boost to BAE in Lancashire where the heart of its Eurofighter production operation is based.

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