Choppergate raises question marks over Dassault's re-entry into MMRCA
Dassault Aviation flew back into the race after being ejected initially for technical non-compliance.
Deal to acquire 12 helicopters from AgustaWesland for VVIP use has gone sour due to allegations of kickbacks paid to alter tender requirements in its favor.
AgustaWestland was not in the race initially but went on to win the contract apparently, due to the modifications.
'Choppergate', as this scandal is popularly called now threatens to engulf Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) - the $15 billion tender to acquire 126 fighters for the Indian Air Force.
As it turns out, Choppergate has an uncanny similarity to MMRCA.
Dassault Aviation, the French Company who’s Rafale has been selected by the Ministry of Defense as the preferred bidder was ousted from the contract in the beginning but then made a dramatic re-entry to emerge at the top.
Rafale edged out the American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG 35 and Sweden's Gripen on the basis of technical performance and the pan-European Eurofighter Consortium’s Typhoon on life-cycle costs.
Reportedly, in April 2009 Rafale was officially knocked out during the technical evaluation stage of the MMRCA for non-compliance. The aircraft was barred from taking part in the next stage of the evaluation process i.e. the field trials. As was reported at the time, there were gaps in the technical bid submitted by Dassault. Ministry of Defense queried the French company seeking clarification. However, not convinced by the incomplete responses it received, the ministry excluded Dassault from further participation in
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