Dassault will not bid the Mirage 2000-5Mk2 for Austria's fighter competition as it does not think it can win.

Austria released a request for proposals (RFP)in October to Boeing for the F/A-18E/F, EADS for the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin for the F-16 and Saab/BAE Systems for the Gripen, as well as to Dassault. The RFP is for 30 fighters - 24 single-seaters and six two-seaters - and responses are due by late January. Industrial offset of 200% is required.

The requirement to take the Austrian air force's Saab J35OE Draken fighters and Saab 105OE trainers as trade-in for the new aircraft also makes bidding unattractive, says the French manufacturer.

Vienna has suggested a decision could be made towards the end of 2002 leading to deliveries from 2005.

The Gripen is acknowledged as lead contender because of the Austrian air force's links with its Swedish counterpart and Saab. The F-16 is considered to be the other principal contender.

Eurofighter is expected not to bid.

Source: Flight International