U.S. officials confirmed that India has eliminated both U.S. bidders–Boeing [BA] with the F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin [LMT] with the F-16–for its medium multi-role combat aircraft contract.

“We are deeply disappointed by this news,” the Pentagon said in a press statement.

Swedish aerospace giant Saab announced earlier in the week that its Gripen fighter aircraft was no longer in the running (Defense Daily, April 28). And Russia’s state-run Rosoboronexport announced that its MiG-35 offering had also been thrown out of consideration.

The four eliminations keep only Dassault‘s Rafale and the Eurofighter GmbH Typhoon in the running. Eurofighter is an industrial consortium that includes BAE SYSTEMS, Alenia, and EADS.

New Delhi in 2009 began long-flight evaluations for the purchase of 126 multirole fighters, with a firm option for at least 50 percent more. A contract could ultimately be worth up to $20 billion, according to industry sources.

India plans to replace hundreds of MiG-21s with 126 aircraft that would fit somewhere in between its high-end Russian Su-30MKIs and its low-end indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft fighters.

Boeing confirmed that its offer, based on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, was “not short listed in the initial downselect” by India’s Ministry of Defense.

“Our next step is to request and receive a debrief from the Indian air force,” Boeing said in a statement. “Once we have reviewed the details, we will make a decision concerning our possible options.”

Lockheed Martin officials deferred questions about its F-16 bid to the U.S. Defense Department.