France's Dassault to ask for Lockheed Martin to be blacklisted in India's medium fighter tender - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 15 July 2009

France's Dassault to ask for Lockheed Martin to be blacklisted in India's medium fighter tender

DUEL OVER DELHI: Two of the six fighters competing for the Indian US $11 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract

Above:  A Lockheed Martin F-16 from the Vermont National Guard;

Left: A Dassault Rafale fighter flying over desert scrubland

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 16th July 09

The gloves are off in the competition to sell India 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for an estimated Rs 50,000 crore. Two days after Business Standard reported on the sudden replacement of Lockheed Martin India’s CEO, Lockheed’s French rival, Dassault Aviation — whose Rafale fighter is pitched against Lockheed Martin’s F-16 IN in the MMRCA tender — is contemplating asking the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to disqualify Lockheed Martin from the tender. The reason: sources in Dassault allege that Lockheed Martin has illegally obtained access to classified documents relating to the competition.

Approached for details of Dassault’s decision, the company’s Indian representative, Pusina Rao, told Business Standard over the telephone from Paris, “Dassault executives are in discussions and will soon reach a final decision on what action it will initiate against Lockheed Martin. In any case, the French government will have the final word, since there are political repercussions involved.”

Rao declined to comment on how long it would take for Paris to approach the Indian MoD for action against Lockheed Martin.

Sources close to the MMRCA contract point out that tension has been growing between Dassault and Lockheed Martin since the end of 2008, when the Indian media reported that Dassault had been eliminated from the MMRCA contract because it had not fulfilled some of the technical requirements spelt out in the Indian tender. Weeks after the report — and apparently after French President Nikolas Sarkozy spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the phone — it was announced that Dassault was very much in contention.

But Dassault believed that Lockheed Martin was responsible for those reports. Now, Dassault is determined to get back at Lockheed Martin, citing charges of corruption in clear violation of the guidelines in India’s Defence Procurement Policy-2008 (DPP-2008).

On Tuesday, reporting on Lockheed’s India CEO, Ambassador Douglas A Hartwick’s sudden recall to the US without the appointment of a replacement, Business Standard had quoted Lockheed Martin’s Asia Chief, Rick Kirkland, as saying that while Lockheed Martin had never possessed classified Indian procurement documents, the company’s US headquarters had written to the MoD in New Delhi seeking clarification over two “unclassified files” that had found their way into Lockheed’s possession.

The MMRCA competition is growing increasingly heated, with all six competitors — Lockheed Martin; Boeing; Dassault; Grippen; MiG; and Eurofighter — scheduled to produce their aircraft for flight testing by the Indian Air Force, turn by turn, starting this month.


  1. why only dassualt is againt LM,only thing can be that dassualt had been thrown out from s.korea and singapore against f15 by american pressure so this time france playing its chance against americans

  2. LM's folly isn't that they attempted underhand tactics. It's that they got caught doing it. One wonders if Antony will have the temerity to go through with blacklisting defense companies for impropriety, as was his stated intent, last month.

    Field testing for MRCA is only in progress and it is inevitable that these side stories will continue to add an element of comedy and drama.

    Dassault can say what they want, our babus don't have the guts to thumb their noses at US or Russian defense companies. In the end it will come down to either F-16IN, F/A-18 or F-35. Dassault can't surely hope to win.

  3. Dont worry guys....
    we have god damn yankee lickerss in out cabinet.
    the godess sonia???????
    wot can the MOD and man-mohan can do?

    no matter wot and how junk it is....... our people go after americans....

    cos......its made in

    and now that bitch Hillary is visiting India cos......she want to push either of those companies.
    India got into her mind only when her US company Lockheed was coming under scanner.she visited all the slutty countries before and no time for India at all.Now she got time to give clean chit to lockheed .

    Ajai......I do really inspire your works.and the way you publish your reports.I do inspire your patriotism unlike there were some B$tards who go after fame and money.

    Keep the good work.and please get rid of this damn congress gov dude.they are far after coming into power and ruling country for more than 50 years.....they literally did nothing for us.

  4. Soniaji ab to bas karo yaar.
    60 saal se is desh ko loot rahe ho aur kitna lootoge. Arey itne paiso se to tumhari saat pushte kha sakti hai. Ab bas karo aur hame maaf karo.

  5. Dear Ajai,
    Please be more frequent with updating your blog. I for one eagerly wait for new posts to appear.
    I am eagerly waiting for coverage of the ATV launch. Hope you can bring back lots of info and pictures.

  6. I see CIA and the French counterpart (whatever that is) slugging it out - it is written all over. Good to see them going for each other's balls yet the sheer susceptibility of our system to these people is worrying.

  7. Mr Shukla, with due respect to your achievements as a TV journalist, I would request you not to get into writing paid articles on behalf of French companies. Your piece is full of inaccuracies. Everybody covering the Defence Ministry knows that who spread the news about Rafale's removal from the M_MRCA competetion. Stop telling lies and even if you have to, keep it to your blog.

  8. ^^^^^^
    Stfu you paki!

  9. Just get the Eurofighter Typhoons and end the drama. Our force levels in IAF inventory is steadily dropping. Typhoons are the best of the lot. Next would be Rafale. F-16s, F/A-18 Superhornets are a pile of junk. Besides , stay away from the yankees. They are no good.


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