Apr 14, 2015
India could Scrap Rafale Deal
Barely two days after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Paris, negotiated with the French government to buy 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition under a separate deal, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on April 13 categorically stated that “if India goes in for additional Rafale fighters, it will also be through government-to-government deals.”
The final negotiations for the MMRCA project with Dassault have been deadlocked for more than a year due to the company’s refusal to accept liability for the 108 jets to be made in India by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
India also maintains the French firm raised the price of the fighter. Under the original plan, 18 MMRCAs were to be bought off the shelf, with the remaining 108 manufactured by HAL in India. India has been insisting that it will not accept a hike in the L-1 (lowest bidder) price provided by Dassault since it had led Rafale to defeat the Eurofighter Typhoon in commercial evaluation in January 2012.
However, New Delhi’s insistence that Dassault back the quality of aircraft produced locally under the tender risks increasing the cost of manufacturing the combat jets in India, where a lack of technical know-how could increase the time needed to build a Rafale to the same standard as that of one coming off of Dassault’s Merignac production line.
Parrikar says the 36 Rafale fighter jets will be inducted into the Indian air force (IAF) in a span of two years. He did not specify how many additional Rafales would be acquired.
India is also trying to improve the serviceability of the 272 Su-30MKIs contracted from Russia.
India has not not purchased any new aircraft of the latest technology in the past 15 years and needs fourth-generation aircraft.