In an effort to upgrade its Air Force with state of the art combat technology – ‘Rafale Jets’, the Indian Government has found itself in a controversy. The price. How much will it cost the taxpayers? There has been much mudslinging about the Rafale Jets in the Indian parliament in the past couple of weeks.
But the Defence Ministry has come out strongly saying the allegations of overly expensive Rafale deal was baseless. Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said false comparisons were being made. Meanwhile, the Opposition continues with its allegations of Rafale being a ‘huge scam’.
Boosting the defense forces hasn’t been easy for any Indian Government in power. Over the years, they have been surrounded by budgetary constraints and corruption charges. And this has often resulted in the blacklisting of vendors.
In September 2016, the Indian Government and Dassault Aviation, a French aircraft firm signed an agreement of 36 Dassault Rafale twin engine fighters for 7.8 billion euros, the delivery of which is expected to begin in November 2019, and likely to be completed by 2022.
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Reports claim that the Reliance Defence Limited run by Anil Ambani had been unfairly chosen to be the French company’s Indian partner. As per the reports, the cost of each aircraft is three times more than that of the price negotiated by the previous UPA government.
India needs these jets to secure its borders. According to Dassault Aviation, in modern warfare, air dominance is a must.” Air-to-ground and air-to-sea operations can be conducted safely and efficiently. It is essential to secure the national airspace with easily deployable control and air defence assets.”
In an interview in December of 2016, the Indian Air Force (IAF) head, Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha had said the Rafale was tremendously capable in all of its role. “It is a multirole aircraft and can be used very effectively.” In 2012, India’s Defence Ministry selected Rafale jets for IAF’s medium multirole combat aircraft (MMCA) programme.
Rafale jets have been used for combat in modern warfare, devotedly in Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently in the Libyan Civil War, and reports suggest that countries like Brazil, Kuwait , Canada and Malaysia have also shown interest in them.
State of the art technology makes Rafale jets stand out. It is an advanced fighter platform completed with lightweight but strong composite materials. “It features an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar system in its nose. Some variants can seat two pilots under a large canopy offering excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. Maximum speed reaches Mach 1.8 and ranges peak at 2,000 nautical miles; fitted with three fuel drop tanks.”