India approves Mica missile buy, but slips fighter decision

Singapore
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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India's Cabinet Committee on Security has authorised a deal to equip the country's Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters with MBDA Mica air-to-air missiles, although the deal has yet to be officially signed.

In an email, MBDA confirmed a deal for infrared and active radar guided versions of the weapon has been authorised by India's cabinet. No other details were provided.

News of the authorisation first appeared on Indian news websites on 5 January, citing unnamed sources. The reports suggested the deal values at about $1.2 billion for 450 to 500 missiles, although MBDA declined to comment on either figure. However, if accurate the buy would work out at a cost of approximately $2.7 million per round.

The missile purchase is related to India's July 2011 deal to upgrade 51 of its air force's Mirage 2000H aircraft to Dassault's Mirage 2000-9 standard. The cost of this deal, reportedly $2.2 billion, has drawn criticism in Indian defence circles.

Meanwhile, Indian media have reported that the nation's defence ministry has postponed announcing the winner of the air force's medium multi-role combat aircraft contest until late January.

Sources are reported as saying that Indian officials are still reviewing the commercial proposals for the 126-aircraft requirement. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon are in contention.