Revised MRFA : Boeing plans to withdraw its F-18 from the race and instead offer its F-15EX fighter jet this time, F-18 had failed to clear technical rounds last time and, since IAF is insisting on carrying out technical trial rounds this time too, it might have seen writing on the wall, that it withdrew F-18 and brought in F-15EX, which many in Indian Airforce seems to believe, has a better chance this time to clear technical trial rounds.
Saab which had fielded its Gripen Next Gen Demo, a precursor to its Gripen-E program, now has a much more stable product on offer, that it is confident will clear technical trial rounds this time, but the development of the Tejas Mk2 program that is of a similar class in India might dent its bid chances.
Russia again plans to offer its Mig-35 jet along with its Sukhoi-35 jets, that were not on offer last time around. Mig-29 OVT prototype that was the precursor to the Mig-35 program had failed to clear technical trial rounds and was in the bottom two in terms of score. Sukhoi-35 jets in the Ukraine war have performed well, even though two jets were lost, the overall performance of the jets was impressive but it is unlikely IAF will opt for another heavy class fighter jet when it already operates 250 Sukhoi-30MKI fleets.
Lockheed F-21 that is F-16V is a downgraded F-16, that is on offer to India where Lockheed plans to beat its competition on price. A previous offer of F-16 Block 70 that was specially configured F-16 to meet IAF’s requirement is no longer on offer instead.
Eurofighter consortium plans to offer its Typhoon Tranche 3 equipped with Eurofighter Typhoon European Common Radar System Mark 2, with an improved electronic attack and electronic warfare capabilities, which the company claims will be the game changer that will allow Typhoon pilots to get the ‘first look’ and the ‘first shot’ and enable them to crank harder, turning further away from the enemy fighter. After Dassault Rafale, only Eurofighter Typhoon was shortlisted after an intensive technical round of trials by the IAF in the previous MMRCA tender.
Dassault Rafale remains the front runner as IAF is in favour to procure more Rafale F4 Configuration at a much cheaper price, Dassault already has got first movers advantage, after it started upgradation of its facility in the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure and Dassault Aviation at Mihan SEZ not only to locally make Dassault Rafale but also service existing fleet of India and other countries in the region.