Finally, Rafale deal to be ‘signed’
The medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 fighters was to be ‘Mother of all Deals’ but it was not to be. Considering the complicated and protracted nature of the MMRCA programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised all during his visit to France in 2015. Setting aside the 126 aircraft deal, Modi announced that India would buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft. After one year and a series of negotiations, the purchase of 36 Rafale appears to have reached the ‘final stage’.
The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said earlier during the year that India will select one or two fighter aircraft which will be manufactured locally under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Analysing the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet against the F-16IN Fighting Falcon from Lockheed Martin, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) writes that the requirement of the IAF is not for a lightweight fighter but for a medium to heavyweight combat aircraft capable of operating over long range without in-flight refuelling, preferably powered by two engines with a high payload carrying capability.
In another significant development, India and the US have agreed in principle to sign the much discussed and negotiated Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), albeit with a different name called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The fast changing geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region is encouraging the two countries to come closer and jointly safeguard their strategic interests in the face of increasing aggressiveness from the Chinese in the South China Sea.
At the ninth edition of Defexpo in Goa which attracted global and local exhibitors, Defence Minister Parrikar announced the release of Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP) which focuses on reducing delays in procurements by eliminating repetitive procedures; new clauses allowing procurements in through single vendor with proper justification; government readiness to pay 10 per cent extra for products better than others; new category of ‘Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured’ (IDDM) as the most preferred category for procurements, etc. We have an analysis of the DPP by Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd). Defexpo 2016: A few points, our Government may like to consider Our well established Defexpo (Land & Naval Systems Exhibition) began in 1999 and has been continuing in Delhi as the venue since then. For the first time the show was relocated in Goa for its 2016 edition.
We should be able to take note that the established defence and aerospace shows, listed below, have never been relocated (for ages): Paris Air Show Farnborough International Airshow Eurosatory (Paris) DSEI (London) Dubai Airshow. As none of such established shows was ever relocated, all these shows have been growing from strength to strength and steadily.
Also the cost to ferry the service officials and senior government officials all the way from Delhi to Goa is a considerable cost which can well be avoided as Delhi versions would never need such additional costs for obvious reasons.
Defexpo, being a government property, we believe needs to be handled with a little care. Uprooting it from its location of origin and relocating to a place which is otherwise perfectly suitable as tourism destination might hamper the real strength and acceptability of the show. We love Defexpo (a business show for defence fraternity) and all of us want the show to grow effectively and surpass global standards. We indeed wish the very best to the future editions of Defexpo.
All this and more in this edition of SP’s M.A.I. which gives quick analysis of news in the fortnight gone by.