India’s Defence Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar has signed the deal worth INR 58,000 crore with his French counterpart Mr Jean Yves LeDrian. This deal will finally brings an end to the years of negotiations between the two countries over the purchase of state of the art Dasault Rafale fighter jets.
As per the inked deal, France will deliver 36 Dasault Rafale fighter jets, with first of them getting delivered in 2019 and the last by 2022. Each jet has roughly costed India INR 1,612 crore.
In order to secure the deal, India has to pay about 15% of the total payment in advance, which is about INR 8,700 crores. This is expected to be done over the next one year, which is when the final contract will be signed.
One of the major reason behind the delay in signing the contract was because India wanted a better price. According to a report from Scroll.in, the initial aim was to acquire 126 fighter jets for a price of INR 90,000 crore. If this is true, then the latest deal worth INR 58,000 crore for just 36 Rafale fighter jets means that we have paid twice the initially calculated quote.
Dasault CEO states that their fighter jets are of new generation. They are not in the same league as the F-16s (which Pakistan acquired from the US), but a generation ahead. Rafale fighter jets are more of F-35 competitor. They can simultaneously perform ground attack mission as well as air defence. It has a combat range of 780 – 1,500 km and can carry 9.3 tonnes of weapons, including nuclear warheads.
Though this is not going to be a make in India initiative, as part of the agreement, France will invest 30% of the total INR 58,000 crore back into India’s military aeronautics-related research programmes and another 20% into local manufacturing of Rafale components.