India and France signed the €7.87 billion deal for Rafale fighter jets, equipped with latest missiles and weapon system besides multiple India-specific modifications that will give the IAF cutting edge capability over arch rival Pakistan.
About Rafale Fighter Jets :
The Dassault Rafale 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 The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.
- In the late 1970s, theFrench Air Force and Navy were seeking to replace and consolidate their current fleets of aircraft. In order to reduce development costs and boost prospective sales, France entered into an arrangement with four other European nations to produce an agile multi-purpose fighter.
- Subsequent disagreements over workshare and differing requirements led to France’s pursuit of its own development program. Dassault built atechnology demonstrator which first flew in July 1986 as part of an eight-year flight-test programme, paving the way for the go-ahead of the project.
- The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era in that it is almost entirely built by one country, involving most of France’s majordefence contractors, such as Dassault,Thales and Safran.
- Many of the aircraft’s avionics and features, such asdirect voice input, the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array(AESA) radar and the optronique secteur frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, were domestically developed and produced for the Rafale programme.
- Originally scheduled to enter service in 1996, the Rafale suffered significant delays due to post-Cold Warbudget cuts and changes in priorities. The aircraft is available in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.
- Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and forcarrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and it has been selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force.
- The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Several upgrades to the weapons and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced by 2018.
About the deal :
France and India signed the contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafale by India, The deal comes with a saving of nearly €750 million, gained through hard negotiations by the Indian side, over the one struck during the previous UPA government, which was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government, besides a 50 per cent offset clause.
- These combat aircraft, delivery of which will start in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked, comes equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’ that will give IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal.
- The ‘vanilla price’ (just the aircraft alone) will cost about 91.7 million Euros each for a single seater and about 94 million Euros for a two-seater trainer aircraft.
- The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF, which is currently down to 34 squadrons as against a sanctioned strength of 44, includes its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range of 150 KM.
- Capital: Paris
- Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
- President: François Hollande