India buying 126 French Rafale fighters

India buying 126 French Rafale fighters

The reason for such decision is a very high price of these machines that turned out to be higher than expected. A possible alternative to the French fighters is increasing the order for Russian Su-30MKI.

French fighter jet was chosen by the Ministry of Defense of India during the MMRCA tender (medium multi-role combat aircraft), at the end of which it was planned to purchase 126 aircrafts valued at $ 10 billion. Besides Rafale, in addition to the Rafale, fighter jet Typhoon, developed by concern EADS, Swedish SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, the US F-16 and F / A-18E / F and the Russian MiG-35  participated in the tender,

The short-list of the tender, which lasted for more than 10 years, included two European aircrafts – Typhoon and Rafale. Rafale, which was announced as the winner on January 31, 2012, reportedly won thanks to the lower cost of the aircraft. Later, during the discussions on the terms of the contract, it turned out that the cost of the life cycle of the French fighter jets is much higher, and the final price of the contract for 126 aircrafts may exceed $ 20 billion.

According to sources of Business Standard, as an alternative, India is looking to increase its order for Russian fighter jets Su-30MKI (as of now, India has ordered 272 of these aircrafts, assembly of which in Russia should be completed in 2018); to expand the purchase order of its own Indian fighter HAL Tejas, the first of which began service with the Indian Air Forces on January 17, 2015BBC reported Jan. 17, 2015; to intensify activities on the India-Russia joint project called Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), in the framework of which a fifth generation fighter, based on the Russian fighter jet T-50 KB Sukhoi, is being developed. Fighter jet MiG-35, which originally participated in the competition, is no longer being considered according to sources.

The advantage of the Russian fighter jet KB Sukhoi can now become both the fact that Indian Air Force is familiar with Su-30 and the fact that due to ruble devaluation the price of these machines has decreased, whereas before it was approaching one hundred million dollars per unit.

Purchase of new fighter jets should allow India to implement a plan of increasing the size of its air force from today’s 35 to 45 squadrons, each of which shall consist of 18 combat aircrafts. Possible refusal to purchase Rafale would become a serious blow to the French company Dassault, which barely manages to maintain its independence given a sharp decline in orders and almost non-existing export: for example, the French Air Force and the French Navy reduced the total volume of Rafale fighter purchases from the originally planned 310 to 180 units, while export history of the aircraft that has been offered on the market for 15 years now remains blank.

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