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BAE vies for Indian jet fighter contract

BAE Systems is in the running to supply India with over 130 fighter jets, in a deal which could win the company over &pound;10bn.<br /><br />If India buys the controversial Eurofighter Typhoon plane, which is built by a four-nation consortium including the UK&rsquo;s BAE, it will be one of the largest international arms deals in the past decade.<br /><br />The competition for India&rsquo;s investment starts next month, when six fighter jets take part in a fly-off.<br /><br />The models being assessed are Eurofighter, Boeing&rsquo;s F/A-18, Lockheed Martin&rsquo;s F-16, France&rsquo;s Rafale, Russia&rsquo;s MiG-35 and Sweden&rsquo;s Gripen.<br /><br />BAE has good ties with India. It has a collaboration with one of the country&rsquo;s largest defence groups Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), meaning it now makes the Hawk trainer jet for BAE. The Hawk is also used by the Indian air force.<br /><br />The Eurofighter has been under fire, as politicians and industry insiders call for the project&rsquo;s wings to be clipped.<br /><br />Earlier this month, BAE rolled out the first Eurofighter manufactured as part of a controversial deal with Saudi Arabia. The inter-government deal means 72 of the aircraft will eventually be delivered to the Middle Eastern kingdom.<br /><br />The deal dates back to the controversial Al-Yamamah arms deal agreed in the 1980&rsquo;s by ex-prime minister Margaret Thatcher.<br /><br />The aircraft will be used by the Saudi airforce.<br /><br />The news that BAE is vying for a contract in India comes after the biennial Paris air show last week.<br />