The Indian government has invited six aircraft manufacturers including Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. to bid on a combat plane contract worth up to $10 billion.
Among the selected aircraft for the highly coveted competition include Russia's MIG-35, Sweden's JAS-39, France's Dassault Rafale, Lockheed's F-16, Boeing's F/A-18 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish firms.
Each of the bids are due by March 3. No date has been set to award the contract, which seeks delivery of 126 aircraft.
The Indian government said Tuesday it would evaluate each bid to test whether the aircraft meet its Air Force requirement. The 211-page request for bids left open the possibility of either a winner-take-all competition or a chance for multiple vendors to receive awards.
The first 18 planes will be built outside of the country. However, the remaining 108 planes will be manufactured in India under a technology license agreement, according to the Indian government.
The State Department anticipates the planes will be built over the course of seven years. However, no delivery schedule has been set.
Sweden's Saab AB, which makes the JAS-39 Gripen fighter jet said in a statement Tuesday, "We look forward to the competition process and are confident that Gripen will meet, or exceed every operational requirement raised by the Indian Air Force."
The Gripen fighter is used by Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic. South Africa has also ordered the plane.
Lockheed on Tuesday touted its F-16 as the most advanced multi-role aircraft used internationally. Currently, the F-16 is used by 24 countries including 10 NATO nations.
In May, Lockheed received congressional approval for the sale of six C-130Js to India worth more than $1 billion. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
Chicago-based Boeing said it intends to closely review the Indian's government request for bids and will offer a proposal that will strengthen the Indian Air Force.
India currently flies Russian-made MiG fighters, British Jaguars and French Mirages.