MMRCA well on track, says IAF Chief
Discrediting rumours of a competition abort or re-tender—or even that negotiations could be taking place with other companies—IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne has stressed that the medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract negotiations with Dassault Aviation for the Rafale are “well on track” and progressing satisfactorily, with expectations of a contract award this financial year.
The IAF Chief indicated that complex costing was under discussion at this stage, and once the contract negotiation committee (CNC) completed its work, there would be approvals at various levels, ending with the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) before a deal, worth potentially over $12 billion, has been signed.
“We have already received the budget for this acquisition. I have not heard any rumours. The negotiations are progressing well and are on track,” the IAF Chief said at his annual press conference. Earlier this year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony too dispelled worries about the competition when an inquiry he ordered into a complaint by a fellow Member of Parliament into the efficacy of the selection process, was found to be unfounded. Dassault Aviation hasn’t officially commented on the IAF Chief’s words, though the company sources confirmed that negotiations were going well, and that they too hoped to draw up a draft contract soon.