Millennium Post

Long delay, high cost mar IAF’s fascination with Rafale

Long delay, high cost mar IAF’s fascination with Rafale
The price negotiations for the 126 medium, multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) – Rafale in this case of IAF – will begin sometime this month itself. But official sources who said this were not willing to state exactly when they will end. They indicated it could be August or September, and with the Narendra Modi government talking about ‘swift action’, the deal could be signed by this March.
Clearly, the spate of recent reports about the IAF and Ministry of Defence considering other options do not seem to hold water. When defence minister  Arun Jaitley was asked recently at a press meet, he had said that the government will take a ‘considered view of the matter’. Following that, the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius took a round of New Delhi, obviously touting Dassault’s case, besides other similar issues.

The government sources, who talked about the contract negotiation committee completing its work soon, gave as a reason for delay the ‘enormity of the task.’ The thick book like Request for Proposal (RFP) that was circulated with the six vendors included 12-15 pages of quantitative tables that had to be filled by various data.

‘There were still some documentation the IAF is waiting for in terms of supply chains and assignments to original equipment manufacturers,’ an official source said. Meanwhile, brushing aside any questions arising out of the technical evaluation committee’s work, the sources said that the IAF did not generate any of the test data by itself. ‘All the competing aircrafts had their flight data recorders spewing out data at the end of the flight which were then shared with the testing agency.’
Sources argue had it not been the case and there were some real or imagined ‘malpractices’, all the other competitors would have been at the jugular of the IAF and the government by now.

Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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