US forces Israeli company to back out of Indian Air Force fighter jet bid

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Jerusalem, July 5 (ANI): The United States has forced an Israeli company to back out of the multi-billion dollar tender to sell new multi-role fighter jets to the Indian Air Force.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been pressurized by the Pentagon to back out of a joint partnership with a Swedish aerospace company, Saab Gripen.

The six aircraft makers and types involved in the multi role combat aircraft (MRCA) competition are the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing Super Hornet, along with the Lockheed Martin F-16, Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Mig 35. The deal is estimated at a whopping 12 billion dollars for 126 new aircraft.

Saab, manufacturer of the Gripen, asked the IAI to jointly develop an advanced model, which would compete for the deal.

The Israeli Defense Ministry ordered IAI to back out of the deal after the Pentagon expressed concern that American technology, used by Israel, would be integrated into the Gripen offered to the Indians.

"The stated concern was that western technology in Israeli hands would make its way to the Indians," The Jerusalem Post quoted an Israeli official, as saying.

The American request was that Boeing and Lockheed Martin - the two largest US defense contractors - are also competing for the Indian deal. For this reason, Israeli officials said it was more likely that the Americans were concerned that if the IAI competed for the deal with Saab it would force the US companies to lower their prices.

A multi-role fighter, the Gripen is in service in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa. The IAI was supposed to provide the electronic systems like radar, communications, etc for the plane. his is not the first time that an Israeli company has been forced out of a deal due to concerns that competing with American companies would endanger Israeli-US relations.

Last summer, the Israel Military Industries (IMI) had to back down from submitting a bid for a half-a-billion dollar deal to develop and manufacture a new tank for the Turkish Armed Forces. (ANI)

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