IAF’s ‘special request’ Six Rafale fighter planes to arrive before schedule

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IAF’s ‘special request’ Six Rafale fighter planes to arrive before schedule

The Dassault Rafale literal meaning says “gust of wind”, and “burst of fire” in a more military sense is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike, and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

A couple of days ago we reported the Indian Air force deployed the Advanced air defense missile system Akash in the eastern Ladakh area to counter a potential aerial threat from the Chinese Air Force. We also mentioned that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was visiting Russia to push for faster delivery of the S-400 Triumf anti-missile system. Now acting on a “special request” by the Indian Air Force France has stepped up its efforts.

According to the Hindustan Times report, Six Rafale fighter planes are likely to land at their home base in Ambala on July 27 — instead of four that were originally planned to be delivered in the first batch — as France steps up efforts to meet the IAF’s immediate requirements, said one of the persons cited above, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In September 2016, India inked a direct deal with the French government to purchase 36 new Rafale fighter jets in a 7.87 billion euro deal. India will also get the latest weapons like the Meteor and Scalp missiles as part of the contract, besides a five-year support package that assures high availability of the fighter. India will pay a 15% advance and deliveries are to start in three years.

We are aware that around 10 Rafale jets are ready at aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s Merignac facility. Preparations are on to fly six Rafale jets to India in July-end with a stopover at Al Dhafra air base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The jets will be flown by Indian pilots,

Hindustan Times reported further upon the second person cited above, also speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The deal was initially estimated to be worth Rs 54,000 crore. NDA government has insisted that it got significantly better terms than those quoted in the original bid under UPA, with a total reported saving of more than 1600 million Euros (350 million Euros on the cost of aircraft with a further reported saving on weapons, allied maintenance, and training package amounting to an around 1300 million Euros or Rs 12,600 crores). However, a cost breakdown of Rafale in the original bid under UPA and in the 36 aircraft in the government-to-government deal under NDA is not in the public domain.

According to thefederal.com, The Congress raised questions about the deal, including on rates of the aircraft, and alleged corruption, but the government has rejected the charges. The development comes amidst India and China scuffle at Galwan valley.

“It’s good that the Rafale delivery is being expedited as its operationalization here would get advanced. Since we are in for the long haul on our northern borders, their availability with the IAF would add to its offensive potential,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria on June 20 said the IAF is “well prepared” and “suitably deployed” to counter any security challenge along the border with China and even hinted that his force has flown combat air patrols in the Ladakh region as part of heightened preparedness.

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