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Rafale clinches India's Rs 52,000 cr fighter jet deal

Last updated on: January 31, 2012 17:42 IST

Rafale clinches India's Rs 52,000 cr fighter jet deal

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Overcoming tough competition from Eurofighter Typhoon, French aviation company Dassault's Rafale fighter jet has won Indian Air Force's mammoth deal for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft worth Rs 52,000 crore.

Quoting sources in the Ministry of Defence, television channels reported that the cost per aircraft could have been among the factors that tilted the deal in Rafale's favour

Reportedly, the Rafale cost 5 million dollars cheaper than the Eurofighter.

 

The offset clause in the tender, included under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) of 2006, requires the winner of the tender to reinvest 50 percent of the deal amount in the Indian defence industry in an effort to energise it.

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India had in April down-selected the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale and asked the manufacturers to extend their commercial bids that were on the point of expiring, till the middle of December.

The down-select had resulted in the rejection of four other contending aircraft -- the Lockheed Martin F-16, the Boeing F/A-18, Russian United Aircraft Corp's MiG-35 and Swedish SAAB's Gripen.

 

The Rafale offers good aerodynamic performance, has exceptional ordnance capacity for its size, and can have its range extended via conformal fuel tanks.

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Dassault claims Mach 1+ "supercruise" capability without afterburners, but observers are sceptical, and it has been challenging to demonstrate this with the Snecma R88-2 engine.

The Rafale also offers some equipment, maintenance and spares commonalities with the existing Mirage 2000 fleet, which would probably increase if an agreement is finally concluded to modernise India's Mirage 2000s.

France's general reliability as a weapons supplier, good history of product support, and long-standing relations with India, offer additional plusses.

The Rafale-M's demonstrated carrier capability might also be attractive, but that requires catapult launch capabilities, which India's initial fleet of carriers will not possess.




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