Saab Gripen not in Indian MMRCA shortlist

  • 12:00 AM, April 28, 2011
  • 13747
Saab has stated that it is not in the shortlist for the Indian MMRCA fighter aircraft deal. The Swedish company had pitched its Gripen NG fighter in the $10 billion Indian competition. An official statement released by the company last night from Stockholm stated, “Today defence and security company Saab AB has received information from the Indian ministry of defence that Gripen has not been shortlisted for the Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme". "We have received this decision and will closely monitor the future process and provide additional information if requested by the Indian ministry of defence”, Saab chief executive officer Haakan Buskhe said adding that the fighter had been offered to India at a very competitive price. The Gripen is already in service in the air forces of Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand, the company said. The jet was first deployed operationally in the current NATO strikes on targets aligned to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, the statement said. Saab executives had informally told earlier that in the event their fighter was left out of the competition, they would contest the decision as the Gripen was the “least priced option” among the five contenders. Informed sources told that Boeing, Lockheed Martin and MiG, the three other contenders in the race too have been informed of the MoD’s decision not to go ahead with the renewal of their commercial bids. In another development, the U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, has announced his resignation. According to a release issued by the US Embassy in New Delhi, “US Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer today announced his resignation from the post of Ambassador to the Republic of India, to be effective at the pleasure of the President. Ambassador Roemer is expected to leave India in June. Ambassador Roemer’s departure is for personal, professional, and family considerations”. Interestingly, the resignation comes a day after the possible elimination of the two U.S. fighters, Lockheed Martin F-16 and Boeing F/A-18. Ambassador Roemer had been vocal in support of the U.S. fighters’ bid and had been earlier quoted to say that the next step in Indo-U.S. cooperation would be if the MMRCA decision went in favor of one of the two American aircraft.