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BAE presses technology-transfer track record in Indian Typhoon campaign

"Enthusiastic support" for the Indian government's 50% offset target and technology transfer ambitions are a cornerstone of the Eurofighter consortium's bid for India's $12 billion, 126-aircraft medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition, says BAE Systems.

Alan Garwood, business director of BAE - which along with Alenia Aeronautica and EADS is pitching the Typhoon for the MMRCA deal - says the consortium's preparedness to meet India's stipulations on technology transfer "absolutely distinguish" its bid.

BAE Systems, he notes, has had a presence in India "for some 50-60 years" and, with partners, has built "around 1,000 aircraft" there, a track record he considers "unique among the competitors".

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Garwood declares himself "very pleased" with the performance of the Typhoon in flying evaluations, while acknowledging that "it's what the Indian air force think that counts". Declining to speculate on the likely timescale for a decision by the air force, he notes: "They're playing this as an absolutely straight-bat competition."

The Typhoon is up against the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin F-16, RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen NG for the Indian contract.

The Typhoon is also participating in a Japanese fighter competition geared toward sourcing 40-50 aircraft to replace McDonnell Douglas F-4s. Its Japanese campaign is led jointly by Alenia and BAE Systems, and Garwood considers it to have "a very good chance" of success, again citing the consortium's willingness to transfer technology. Competition for Japan's business will come from the F/A-18.

In a bid to boost BAE Systems' Japanese prospects, Tony Ennis was appointed to serve as its president of north-east Asia from a base in Tokyo. He took up the position on 1 January.

The company will shortly host an event aimed at showcasing its technological innovations to the Japanese market.

On the Typhoon's prospects in Oman, BAE Systems comments: "The UK government announced Oman's intention to procure Eurofighter Typhoon earlier this year, and BAE Systems is continuing to work closely with both governments to reach agreement for the supply of this new-generation fighter to meet Oman's national defence needs for the next 20-30 years."

Typhoon business is also being sought in Romania, Turkey and Qatar, and the type will be offered to Switzerland should that nation's mooted fighter contest proceed.

Garwood says BAE Systems has received "an unprecedented level of prime ministerial support" from the UK since David Cameron took office in May, and notes a generally "increased tempo to the government's support" since the Cameron-led coalition formed.

"The coalition wants to get the country out of recession and they see manufacturing and exporting as a way to do it," asserts Garwood. "With the level of government support we're getting now, I'm very confident we'll get a lot more success over the next few years."

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