The Indian Defence Ministry will announce the winner of the $12bn Multi-role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) deal next month, air chief marshal NAK Browne revealed.

Press Trust of India has quoted Browne as saying: "I expect in another four weeks we should be able to wrap it up."

The ministry is currently working on the shortlisted bids and the name of the lowest bidder will be announced following the assessment of the life cycle maintenance costs and other contract details.

Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale were selected for the contract earlier this month.

The contract involves the acquisition of 18 aircraft by 2012 followed by 108 to be manufactured in India, with options to purchase additional aircraft.

The new MMRCA aircraft will be the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft fleet for the next 40 years and will replace its existing fleet of MiG variants.