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India has extended by two months the deadline
India has extended by two months the deadline for a $10 billion tender for a 126 multirole combat aircraft contract.

Eighteen aircraft are to be brought in flyaway condition, and 108 are to be manufactured in India under license.

"The deadline for the submission of bids has been moved from March 3 to April 28," a Defense Ministry source was quoted as saying.

He indicated that the decision had been made in response to requests from at least two bidders for more time.

"Since it [the acquisition] has a long timeframe, the extension of the deadline by eight weeks will not materially affect the acquisition process. The feedback we have got is that all the competitors are happy with the new schedule," the official said.

Six major aerospace companies, including Lockheed and Boeing from the U.S., Russia's MiG, France's Dassault Rafale, Sweden's Gripen and the EADS a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies, are in the contention for the deal.

A principal factor in the tender is that the Indian Air Force needs to phase out its ageing frontline fighter, the Soviet-era MiG 21, while its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft program has slipped behind international standards.

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