By Vipin V. Nair
(NSI News Source Info) February 11, 2009: (Bloomberg) -- India’s government is evaluating bids by Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and four other companies to supply 126 fighter jets worth $11 billion in the largest military contest in play worldwide. “It’s a complex process, it will take its own time,” Defense Production Secretary Pradeep Kumar told reporters in Bangalore today ahead of the Aero India air show. “Technical evaluation is on and trials will be conducted.” He wouldn’t say when the deal may be completed. Boeing has delivered Super Hornet proposals to the Danish and Brazilian governments in 2008. The Super Hornet is one of three fighter aircraft in a Danish competition to replace 48 F-16s. In October 2008, it was reported the Super Hornet was selected as one of three finalists in Brazil's fighter competition. Brazil has put forward an initial requirement for 36 planes, with a potential total purchase of 120. *Boeing submitted a proposal for India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition on 24 April 2008. The Super Hornet variant being offered to India is named F/A-18IN. It will include Raytheon's APG-79 AESA radar. In August 2008, Boeing submitted an industrial participation proposal to India describing partnerships with companies in India. India in April got bids from six companies to supply the jets as part of its efforts to modernize the air force and replace its aging Russian-made aircraft. The fighter-plane contest is the largest in 15 years, according to Boeing, and marks the first opportunity for U.S. companies to break into India’s defense market. Lockheed’s F-16 is competing in the fighter contest against Chicago-based Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet; Russia’s MiG-35; Saab AB’s Gripen; France’s Rafale made by Dassault Aviation SA; and the Eurofighter Typhoon, a joint venture of Airbus SAS, BAE and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA. India wants all but 18 of the 126 multi-role fighter jets it buys to be made in India.