Trials will begin the week commencing 10 August 2009 for the six fighter jets competing to win the estimated $12bn Indian jet fighter deal in Bangalore, India.

India plans to buy 126 multi-combat aircraft to replace its Soviet-era aircraft fleet.

The trials, opening with Boeing’s F-18 Superhornet jet, will continue for about a year in three phases before India selects a fighter.

Lockheed’s F-16 will follow the Superhornet, followed by EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and Russia’s MiG-35 and MiG-29.

Dassault’s Rafale aircraft and Saab’s Gripen fighter will be next in line to complete the trials.

The first phase will include tests in three climatic conditions – humid in Bangalore, hot in Jaisalmer and cold in Leh.

The second phase will include flight trials in Indian airspace and in the third phase the aircraft will undergo a series of tests to evaluate the weapon systems mounted on the fighters in home conditions.

India plans to acquire 18 of the aircraft in ready-to-fly conditions while the rest will be manufactured in India under transfer of technology.