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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Washington: A sales and marketing dogfight between American fighter jets F-18 Super Hornets and the much-ballyhooed F-16s will be just one of the star attractions in the Aero India 2007, which will be held in Bangalore from February 7-11.
Both Boeing, which makes the F-18, and Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-16, are flying down their machines and men for the Bangalore show, the first time that Americans are turning up in strength after the Aero India began in 1996.
Reason: The Bush administration has given the green signal for US arms merchants that India is no more out of bounds.
Besides two F-18 Super Hornets, Boeing will also be sending a giant C-17 transport aircraft and Chinook heavy-lift choppers for the show, a senior Boeing official said.
While one of the F-18s will be on display, the other one will be put through the paces at the show by Boeing's chief test pilot Ricardo Traven, who is flying down to Bangalore for the show.
The American jets will have to contend with three other international competitors who are lining up to bid for the 126-aircraft deal that the Indian Air Force is expected to call for shortly, one of the single largest fighter plane contracts in the history of aviation, worth a massive $7 billion at least.
Also in the race, Sweden's Grippen and Russian advanced MiGs. The prospective deal has been the talk of military aviation circles for several months now.
18/01/07 Times of India

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