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Pentagon Halts Israeli Fighter Jet Bid, US a Rival on Tender (INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) by Malkah Fleisher 07/06/09) Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132228
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(IsraelNN.com) A scandal has arisen out of the United States military establishment after Pentagon pressure on Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to withdraw from a massive aircraft tender for the Indian Air Force, leaving American aerospace companies in prime position to win it.
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On the table: a $12 billion Indian Ministry of Defense tender for 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) for the Indian Air Force.
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In a bid to win the tender, IAI was offered a partnership with Sweden´s Saab AB to jointly develop an advanced model of the JAS-39 Gripen jet fighter. Israel was to build the electronic systems for the craft, including communications, electronic warfare and radar systems.
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The Pentagon contacted Israel´s Ministry of Defense, ordering them to force IAI out of contention, citing concerns that Israel would integrate American technology into the fighter jets.
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However, two of the remaining four bidders are American companies, leaving Israeli officials speculating that the actual reason for the demand was America´s interest in winning the bid without having to compete by lowering prices, according to Israeli officials quoted in Israeli media
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Lockheed Martin´s F-16 and Boeing´s F-18 Hornet are still in the running, as well as Russia´s MiG-35 and the UK´s BAE Eurofighter.
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The United States has a history of intervening to thwart Israeli military contracts, to America´s benefit. Last summer, Israel´s defense establishment backed down from a $500 million Turkish tank tender in order not to compete with the Americans.
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In 2006, the IAI lost a $2 billion South Korean Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) tender after the US imposed technological and commercial restrictions, which prevented Israel from meeting the terms of the tender.
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In 2003, the US opposed a $1 billion AWACS contract between Israel and India, citing India´s stance against the US war in Iraq. The US offered Israel $1 billion in US military goods to back down from the agreement. However, Israeli officials speculated that the US may have opposed the deal for commercial reasons. (© A7 Syndications 07/06/09)
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