Procurement: March 8, 2001


: The Czech Ministry of Defense has issued a request for bids for 24-36 new supersonic multi-role fighters. They have invited bids from the Swedish Gryphon, US F-18E/F Super Hornet and F-16C50 Falcon, French Mirage-2000-5, and Eurofighter Typhoon. The Ministry of Defense expects the program to cost about $2.7 billion but critics inside the Czech parliament think the actual cost will be closer to $5 billion. The Czech government has set a tough benchmark for the program, demanding that bids include:

@ rock-bottom price not marked up for research & development

@ investment in and technology transfer to Czech companies

@ help in exporting Czech products equal to 150% of the cost of the aircraft.

Bids must be submitted by 31 May. A panel including five defense officials, nine bureaucrats from various ministries (finance, industry, trade, foreign affairs), and a technology professor will review the bids and make a recommendation by 30 September, so that an order can be placed on 31 Oct. The Czech government said it reserves the right to cancel the process at any point.--Stephen V Cole


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