Rafale Deal: Is It About Air Power or Political Power?
(Source: TimesNowNews; posted Sep 03, 2018)
By Maroof Raza
The Rafale aircraft deal is fast turning into a political slugfest over allegations of nepotism and an overpriced deal for the 36 Rafale aircraft ordered by India. The UPA (coalition of opposition parties) claims that the deal is far more expensive than what it had negotiated (though the UPA never signed this deal).

More so, those inconclusive talks were about the Rafale aircraft platform, not for a fully loaded fighting machine that the 36 Rafale’s due for India would come in 2019, with the whole stack of weapons and armaments along with the aircraft.

Thus, the price being quoted now is exponentially higher – from 9.7 million euros only per aircraft platform, to 7.87 billion Euros for the fully loaded version of all 36 Rafale fighters, inclusive of additional weapons and technologies that are to be added to the entire fleet.

This would include helmet mounted sites, state of the art missiles – Scalp and Meteor – to the Rafales that have an operational range one and a half times of our current day best fighters, the Sukhoi 30 MKI. Also, the manufacturer Dassault has assured that at all times, 75% of the Rafale fleet would be kept airworthy. This compares well with our Sukhois which have never crossed the 60% serviceability mark.

The Rafale apparently meets all the requirements of the [Indian Air Force], and getting 36 fighters in ready to operate condition with massive armaments on board not just in multi-role (as the MMRCA had asked for) but even better, in ‘omnirole’ will give the IAF the desperately needed punch to deal with the dual threat of China and Pakistan. At least until the additional 90 aircraft are made or purchased to make up the IAF’s vintage fleets of MiGs.

While it is certainly the job of the opposition parties to act as watchdogs, and question this deal, but as this deal is a G2G (Government to Government) deal now, there is no room for middlemen in such FMS contracts. And the UPA should know that, having done numerous such FMS deals with the US in the past several years, worth billions of dollars. (end of excerpt)


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