INDIA HAS finally signed a firm contract for the purchase of 36 Dassault Rafales from France. An official ceremony took place in New Delhi today, September 23, during which French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves le Drian and his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, signed the formal documents for the deal. The order will comprise 28 single-seat and eight twin-seat aircraft.
As we reported previously in AFM, final clearance for the long-delayed order was given on Wednesday, September 21, at a meeting of India’s Cabinet Committee on Security. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery within 36 months, with the remainder to follow within 60 months. The estimated total cost of the deal is around 7.8 billion euros, including weapons and equipment.
Indian defence officials said the terms of the contract include a requirement that France must ensure that 75% of the fleet (27 aircraft) are operational at any one time. There is also a penalty clause for late deliveries. Although details of the weapons being ordered have not been announced, they are expected to include the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM and Scalp stand-off cruise missile.
India had originally planned to buy a total of 126 Rafales after selecting the type on January 31, 2012, to meet the Indian Air Force’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement. Several years of fruitless negotiations over the deal followed, but disagreements over production in India and other complications led to the announcement on April 10 last year that the MMRCA programme was being abandoned in favour of a direct, off-the-shelf purchase of just 36 Rafales to meet the IAF’s urgent operational requirements.