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