NEW DELHI – India is likely to open the commercial bids of the two shortlisted vendors for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) in the first week of November.

A Defense Ministry official said the vendors – French Rafale International and European consortium Cassidian Eurofighter – will be invited to witness the opening of their bids on Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, reports quoting industry sources said the shortlisted vendors have received a letter from the ministry and told the date on which the commercial bids for procuring 126 fighter jets will be opened.

The lowest bid in the tender may become the winner. However, the associated costs in terms of spares and support over two years, as well as for maintaining the aircraft over a lifetime of 6,000 hr. of flying or 40 years, will also be considered.

The Defense Ministry in early October approved the offset proposals of the two vendors.

Eurofighter and Rafale were shortlisted for tender after offerings from Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as the Russian MiG 35 and Swedish Saab Gripen, were rejected from the race in April.