Britain and its European partners are close to landing an $11.5 billion deal to supply 126 multi-role Typhoon combat aircraft to India, thanks to superior stealth technology that has made the necessary bribes undetectable to conventional systems.
In technical tests, the contractual arrangements for the plane have come out ahead of rival bids involving American, Russian and French lawyers and accountants.
‘BAE Systems learnt a lot of valuable lessons from the Saudi scandal,’ said Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, ‘which means the new delivery systems are battlefield tested. Add to that the advantages of our strong historical links with India and having Italian and Spanish partners, and you can see that the Typhoon bid started life with a completely unfair lead, exactly what’s needed in this market place.’
Sir Stephen said that by contrast the French offers of fine wines and beef failed to impress Prime Minister Singh, while the Russians’ supplies of the necessary ready cash had been siphoned off into machismo contests to lose as much as possible on fast cars, large yachts and football clubs. The Americans were embarrassed by a ‘friendly fire’ incident in which a million dollar inducement accidentally landed in the bank account of the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission.
While the upfront bribes are thought to be lower than offered elsewhere, the Typhoon contract benefits from an integrated corruption platform which can deliver follow-up ‘bungs’ to selected targets with unprecedented accuracy. Sophisticated software enables the ‘Backhander’ system to keep large parcels of laundered currency under the financial radar and hit the correct pockets with pinpoint precision.
It is understood that the clincher was allowing India a share in the partnership. Sir Stephen said that while their involvement might mean delivery delays and the need to use children to finish assembling radioactive warheads, any remaining traces of stray cash would be rendered invisible by India’s opaque legal system.