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Ministry of Defence officials familiar with the MMRCA trials told The Hindu that while they expect no hiccups during the weapons drop over Pokhran, the Leh exercise proved challenging to the other contenders vying for the MMRCA deal.
The officials confided that four of the five aircraft in the MMRCA competition faced problems starting up in the rarefied atmosphere of Leh, and the IAF had to ask the manufacturers to undertake modifications in the aircraft's fuel systems. The Gripen's evaluation is part of the MMRCA flight trials, which started in August last, when the F/A-18 Hornets arrived here. These were followed by another American fighter, the F-16IN Super Viper. In September, the French Rafale flew over Bangalore. It was followed by Russia's MiG-35 and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space consortium's Eurofighter Typhoon flew in March.