On Thursday night, Jean Yves Le Drian, Defense minister of France arrived Delhi for signing of the 7.8 billion (Rs 58,000 crore or so) deal today for 36 Rafale jets, that will come armored with latest weapon system and missiles, giving Indian Air Force (IAF) a cutting edge over arch rival Pakistan.
On Wednesday, the negotiates to buy the Rafale fighter jets came through. The development comes after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) discussed the deal and gave the green signal to go ahead with its signing to give a crucial boost to the Indian Air Force.
The leaders agreed to scale back an original plan to buy 126 Rafale planes to just 36 in fly-away condition to meet the Indian Air Force’s urgent need as it faces an assertive China and long-time foe Pakistan.
The first fighter jet deal in 20 years will be signed in the attendance of defense minister Monohar Parrikar and Drian and chief executive officers of top French companies, including Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale.
The 15% of the total amount will be paid in advance for 36 off-the-shelf Dassault Rafale twin-engine fourth generation multi-role fighter aircraft. The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF is its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km.
Its integration on the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying in the India’s territorial border.
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, come 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’ of just the 36 aircraft is about 3.42 billion. The armaments cost about 3.42 million while Indian specific changes, including integration of Israeli helmet-mounted displays, will cost 1,700 million. The rest of the cost includes spare parts and maintenance.