Everything about India, France Rafale aircraft deal

The Rafale was chosen in 2012 over rival offers from the United States, Europe and Russia. UPA government led deal contained 126 Rafales consisting of 18 off-the-shelf jets from France's Dassault Aviation, with 108 others being assembled in India by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL in Bengaluru. But BJP government rowed back from the commitment saying the twin-engined planes would be too expensive.

Later PM Modi intervened and decided to buy 36 "ready-to-fly" fighters instead of trying to acquire technology from Dassault and make it in India.

In September 2016, India and France concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of 7.87 billion euros or Rs 58,000 (Rs 1600 crore per aircraft). This is the first fighter aircraft deal since late 90's, for the purchase of Sukhois from Russia.

The Rafale is a twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of carrying combat missions like air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.

As part of India's nuclear doctrine, Rafale aircraft are likely to succeed Mirage fighters for nuclear warhead delivery. Aircraft deliveries will begin by Dassault after 36 months (September, 2019) and will be completed in 67 months.

The Rafale deal includes, the aircraft in fly-away condition, weapons, simulators, spares, maintenance, and Performance Based Logistics support for five years. It also includes the Meteor missile, considered among the most advanced in the world.

These is "no" optional clause included in the deal, Under optional clause another 50 percent of the contract additional units can be procured at the same price after conclusion of the main contract.

The deal includes a 50 percent offset clause, that means; French industry will invest half the contract value back in the country which will be helpful in developing some expertise domestically in the aerospace sector. Out of 50 percent of the total cost; 30 per cent will be invested in India's military aeronautics-related research programmes and 20 per cent into local production of Rafale components.

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Limited had been picked to be the French firm's Indian partner.

A six percent technology sharing component is also included in the deal to be discussed with the DRDO.

Due to national security reasons, there is a confidentiality clause in the Rafale deal which bars the buyer and seller from talking about the pricing, making it impossible for any government to reveal any detail about the defence deals.

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