With Dassault’s irresistible offers for India; Will the Indian Air Force (IAF) buy 36 more Rafale fighters from France?


India is likely to receive the last batch of Rafale fighter jets from France later this year. At a time when India and China are facing a protracted stalemate on the border, Rafales will greatly support the IAF, which is managing a fleet of warplanes that are slowly reaching the end of their service life.

Showing confidence in the IAF’s existing fighter jets , an Indian defense expert, Deputy Air Chief of Staff Manmohan Bahadur said the country was well prepared to deal with any threat. Of the 36 Rafales ordered by India , France is expected to complete the delivery of the last by January 2022. To date, Dassault Aviation has delivered 26 Rafales, while two are in France, to support the training of IAF pilots and technicians.

There are indications that the IAF is looking to buy 36 more Rafale fighters; while the Indian Navy is seriously evaluating the Rafale-M version, for India’s first domestic aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is likely to be commissioned next year. Some experts believe that, given the Rafale-M’s propulsion ratio and sea attack capabilities, it is beneficial to join the Indian Navy. Other top contenders for the Indian Navy’s carrier-based fighters are the US F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Russian MiG-29.

Defense analysts previously reported that the IAF’s operational capabilities have declined dramatically over the past two decades; The IAF is facing a severe aircraft shortage, as most of the fighters in service are expected to be retired soon.

Currently, the IAF’s staffing is reported to be 30 fighter squadrons, the necessary requirement is 42 squadrons. Shortage in staffing, which could lead to a capacity imbalance between India and its neighbors Pakistan and China. According to experts, amid a year-long border conflict with China in Ladakh, such an IAF’s lack of capabilities could be catastrophic in the event of a war on two fronts, with participation of both China and Pakistan.

The last MiG-21 squadron will now be retired by 2024, which could complicate matters further, Business Standard reports. The MiG-21 dates back to the Soviet Union, and has been in service with the IAF since the 1960s. They were expected to be retired in the mid-1990s, but were later upgraded to the Bison standard.

Currently, the IAF’s MiG-21 has frequent accidents; 482 of the 872 MiG-21s crashed between 1971 and April 2012, with 12 losses per year. It is believed that, after many upgrades, the MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27, will be phased out of the IAF service from 2022 onwards. In such a context, the Rafale is the type of fighter that is expected to “refresh” the combat capabilities of the IAF; The Rafale is a 4++ generation fighter jet that travels at almost twice the speed of sound (maximum 1.8 Mach).

Rafale is classified as a multi-role fighter, including electronic warfare, air defense, ground attack as well as attack into the depth of the enemy. An important feature is that Rafale can be deployed as a nuclear deterrent. According to information from the manufacturer Dassault Aviation, the Rafale is equipped with the longest-range Meteor air-to-air missile, as well as intelligent ground-attack weapons such as Hammer missiles and long-range air-to-surface cruise missiles. SCALP.

Earlier this year, India’s state-owned Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), signed a “Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)” with French company Safran Aircraft Engines. Accordingly, the Smecma M88 engine used on the Rafale jet will be assembled and manufactured in India.

The information indicates that there could be significant technology transfer in the Rafale assembly and production programs in the future. The Memorandum of Understanding also includes a partnership between HAL and Safran Aircraft Engines, for programs related to the design and development of high-thrust engines, with a capacity of 110 kN or more. Along with that is the important technology transfer in this development framework.

France made an interesting offer, to revive its plans to develop domestic Kaveri jet engines, as part of an offsetting agreement to buy Rafale. A thorough presentation on the creation of a new type of aircraft engine in India, was proposed. French engine manufacturer Safran, which manufactures engines and electronics for Rafale jets, has offered to co-develop Kaveri engines for its “Indian Light Fighter” program. (LCA)” is currently using the engine of GE (USA).

Paris has ensured that it is ready to transfer more technology, to produce M-88 engines mounted on Rafale fighters, only need India. order 36 more Rafale machines. India would be the only country to be provided with such advanced technology transfer by France and this would ensure that New Delhi would achieve full “sovereignty”. in aviation engine technology.

if India needs to develop as an air superpower, HAL needs to develop its own engine. Rafales is a proven fighter and India is in the process of acquiring 114 more fighters under the MMRCA 2.0 contract.

Despite the disproportionate cost, the additional Rafales fighters (likely 36), will greatly help the Indian Air Force, the HAL company and India’s ambitions, in the construction. Aircraft 100% made in India.

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