US fighter companies satisfied after MMRCA downselect debrief

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Both US bidders shut out of a competition for a major fighter contract still have no complaints after receiving a long-awaited debriefing from the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Boeing and Lockheed Martin representatives attended a government-to-government debriefing between Indian and US officials on 11 July.

The debriefing was requested by the US government after the IAF down-selected to the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon in late April. The decision included four other bidders, including the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-16IN.

Both companies have previously said they accept the IAF's decision, but requested a debrief to understand why their bids fell short in the technical evaluation. Details of the debriefing have not been disclosed, but neither company stated any complaints about the results of the IAF's evaluation process.

"The decision has been made by the IAF and throughout the competition [Lockheed Martin] has been extremely impressed with the IAF and the professional manner in which the competition was conducted," Lockheed said.

Boeing also released a statement re-iterating the company's acceptance of the IAF decision, but also suggested the Super Hornet could be proposed again to New Dehli.

"Should future requirements emerge to fulfill India's air power capabilities, we will be happy to discuss them," Boeing said.

Despite losing the opportunity to win the MMRCA contract, both contractors have made significant gains in India since the US removed a weapons export ban in 2005.

Boeing has received commitments for the P-8I Neptune and C-17 Globemaster III. Lockheed has sold the C-130J to India.

The other two bidders excluded from the final round of the MMRCA competition were the Saab Gripen and the RSK MiG-35.