Rafale Deal Done

First Rafale Jets to be de­liv­ered by 36 months and the last by 66 months

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Gul­shan Luthra

NEW DELHI. In­dia and France fi­nally signed the € 7.87 bil­lion deal for 36 cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy Rafale Medium Multi Role Com­bat Air­craft (MMRCA) Septem­ber 23. The deal was inked be­tween De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar and his vis­it­ing coun­ter­part, Jean Yves Le Drian, who flew in New Delhi on Septem­ber 22 af­ter hard ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween In­dian diplo­mats and In­dian Air Force (IAF) of­fi­cials on the one side and their French coun­ter­parts and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany Das­sault of­fi­cials on the other.

The first lot of the air­craft is to be de­liv­ered within 36 months and the fi­nal by 66 months, although Mr Par­rikar later in­di­cated that some may be re­ceived by In­dia a bit ear­lier. All the air­craft are be­ing bought in fly­away con­di­tion. There is no options clause, as nor­mally is in most con­tracts, but Mr Anil Am­bani’s Re­liance Aerospace made a rather ex­pected dis­clo­sure that it will be Das­sault’s In­dian part­ner in ex­e­cut­ing the man­dated 50 per cent off­set com­po­nent. Mr Am­bani is per­son­ally and ag­gres­sively steer­ing mul­ti­ple Army, Navy and Air Force pro­grammes for de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing to­wards Make in In­dia projects.

Some small and medium scale in­dus­tries are set to ben­e­fit from the off­set in­vest­ments in In­dia.

TECH­NOL­OGY TRANS­FER TO DRDO

Sources told In­dia Strate­gic that a very sig­nif­i­cant clause in the new con­tract is tech­nol­ogy trans­fer, and the three part­ners mak­ing the Rafale, Das­sault, Thales and Safran, will col­lab­o­rate with In­dia’s De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) in this re­gard to the ex­tent of 15 per­cent of the to­tal project cost. MBDA, which is sup­ply­ing the mis­siles, also has a com­mit­ment within this amount.

Ac­cord­ing to Thales, which pro­vides

cut­ting edge war tech­nolo­gies for the air­craft, 28 Rafales would be sin­gle seater and eight twin-seaters. The lat­ter can be used for training as well as for some crit­i­cal mis­sions where the IAF lead­er­ship would con­sider de­ploy­ment of a two-man crew pru­dent. Rafale is nu­clear de­liv­ery ca­pa­ble, and it does not mat­ter if the crew is one man or two. But it will spear­head the nu­clear de­liv­ery com­po­nent, which in­cludes the Su 30 MKI, Mi­rage 2000 and Jaguar air­craft.

TOP TECH SPECS

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha, told In­dia Strate­gic that the Rafale now con­tracted does not only re­tain the ca­pa­bil­i­ties orig­i­nally sought in the MMRCA com­pe­ti­tion but has ad­di­tional and bet­ter ones.

“The air­craft will be highly po­tent with the best pos­si­ble tech­nol­ogy spec­i­fi­ca­tions” he said, adding In­dia was open to buy­ing more but that a de­ci­sion would be con­sid­ered later.

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