Rafale Jet. Source: Dassault aviation.
France and India signed on September 23rd the contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets by India.
India's Cabinet Committee on Security — the highest body in the government for the purchase of weapons and equipment, chaired by the prime minister — had cleared the intergovernmental agreement on Sept. 22. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, played key roles in forging the deal, Dassault said.
According to a source in the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the order is worth about €7.89 billion (US $8.85 billion). France is expected to invest 30 percent of the total order cost in India's military aeronautics-related research programs and 20 percent into local production of Rafale components to fulfill the mandatory offsets under the deal.
Of the total reported amount, €3.42 billion is for the cost of the platform; another €1.8 billion is for support and infrastructure supplies; €1.7 billion will be spent to meet India-specific changes on the aircraft; €710 million is the additional weapons package; and €353 million is the cost of performance-based logistics support, the MoD official said.
The first of the jets from France is to be delivered in 36 months, by September 2019, and the entire lot over the following 30 months.
“This new contract illustrates the strategic relationship and the exemplary partnership maintained between the two countries and marks the natural culmination of the relationship of trust initiated in 1953 when India became Dassault Aviation’s first export customer,” the company said.
According to an Indian Air Force (IAF) official, Dassault will make India-specific changes to the aircraft and mount new-generation missiles, like Meteor and Scalp, adding extra capability beyond India's immediate adversaries. The Meteor is a beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile with a range of more than 150 kilometers, whereas Scalp is a long-range, air-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 kilometers.
IAF has not procured any new fighter jets since the start of this century, the last one being the Sukhoi 30-MKI from Russia that was first ordered in the mid-1990s and later produced under license at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facilities in India.
About the Rafale:
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The versatile aircraft is able to carry out all combat aviation missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006. It has proven its worth in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. In 2015, Egypt and Qatar have each ordered 24 Rafales. On 30 June 2016, 152 Rafale aircraft had been delivered.
Sources: Defense News, Dassault Aviation, India MoD..
Written by Patricia Ruiz
Patricia Ruiz is Environmental and Forestry Engineer and a Supply Chain Management Expert