Friday, February 20, 2015

Rafale’s Prospects Discussed By Top Indian Officials

Neelam Mathews
Feb 19, 2015

                     Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha speaking at the Aero India show. (Photo: Neelam Mathews)

India will not buy more Sukhoi Su-30s instead of the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Arup Raha told AIN at the Aero India show in Bangalore on February 19. There had been speculation that India would turn to Russia for more combat aircraft, after three years of incompleted MMRCAnegotiations with France for the Dassault Rafale. However, “there is no Plan B,” Raha said.
Raha said the two types would be complementary, and that the IAF’s MiG-21s and MiG-27s have reached obsolescence and need to be replaced. The IAF Chief was replying to a query about how urgently the IAFrequires the Rafale. “It is important that we have the MMRCA in the quickest possible time…to build to a 42 combat squadron force…we are looking to fill the technology gap,” he said.
Also speaking at the show, Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar said that he had asked the contract negotiating committee for the MMRCA to speed up the completion of its report. According to Raha, three of its subcommittees have already concluded their work. “Issues are being resolved by the fourth committee dealing with contracts,” said Raha. The final report is expected in a fortnight. An Indian defense official confirmed to AINprevious reports that the contract was held up by the liability clause that makes Dassault responsible for any mishaps. It is likely HAL could agree to share the liability along with Dassault, AIN has learned.
Earlier this week, France concluded an arms deal with Egypt that includes 24 Rafales to be delivered beginning in 2018. If the MMRCA negotiations are successfully concluded, Dassault might have to increase the production rate, for India to receive early deliveries. It is due to supply the initial 18 Indian Rafales from France, with the other 108 to be built under license by HAL.

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