DA #1: Indian Rafale deal- Is the MMRCA competition really dead?

The decision to buy 36 ready-to-fly Dassault Rafales by India came in as a surprise to everyone. After nearly fifteen years of back and forth with Indian MMRCA deal, India finally decided to cancel the MMRCA program and just go with 36 Rafales. What changed?

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In This Episode

  • Indian Air Force down to 34 squadrons when 44 required to counter China and Pakistan.
  • India has 14 squadrons of obsolete MiG-21s and MiG-27s.
  • Serviceability of Su-30MKIs are about 55%.
  • Huge delay in indigenous LCA Tejas. Tejas Mark 2 will be ready only after 2022.
  • India to go in for direct purchase of 36 Rafales in a government-to-government deal.

Books mentioned on the show

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  • Another Guest (from Australia)

    Why India should consider purchasing more Su-30MKI, or Russia and India should work on 5th-gen upgrade to Su-35S Super Flanker-E fighter?

    I don’t think calling the Sukhoi heavy weight fighter “an overkill” is a right thing to say. Because the Flanker aircraft has far better range and carries better weapons load than the Rafale, Eurofighter. The Sukhoi has also cheaper price tag than these aircraft.

    I’ve heard some reports about Russia and India have signed an agreement to jointly develop a fifth-generation upgrade of the Su-35S Super Flanker-E multirole fighter, according to a report published 8th March on Virginia-based military affairs website Defence News.

    Fifth-Generation Su-35S variant.

    Defence News cited a Russian military insider as stating that Moscow and New
    Delhi have signed an agreement to design what Russia is calling the
    fifth-generation version of the Su-35 in India, which will see an Indian variant
    of the fighter created called the Su-35S. Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russian
    state-run tech export corporation Rostec, was cited by the website as saying,
    “We have been negotiating and have signed the intention protocol for the
    Su-35…Now we are working on designing ideas for this contract and on creating
    a manufacturing platform for the aircraft of the fifth generation.”

    The shift from the fourth-generation Su-35, currently in service with the
    Russian Air Force, to the fifth-generation Su-35S will necessitate a large
    upgrade. The report in Defence News questioned the ability of the Su-35S to bear
    comparison with the F-35. An Indian Air Force official said Russia has pitched the Su-35S several times over the last six months, stating that it can replace the Indian Air Force’s MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters, set to be retired from service in seven to eight years.

    Russia and India have already worked together on the development of a
    fifth-generation stealth fighter, the T-50 PAK FA. The Defence News report
    suggested that the reason Russia has suddenly announced the development program for the stealth fighter is because they are trying to undercut France following the refusal of Paris to provide Russia with two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. In 2012, New Delhi decided to buy 126 Dassault Rafale multirole fighters, and has now cut down to 36 aircraft, from the French company but they have been unable to reach a final agreement due to the technology transfer involved and the price. A Russian industry source cited in the report said the Su-35S will cost only US$40 million to US$65 million, very competitive when compared with the Rafale, and poses a threat to the deal between France and India. A report in the New Delhi-based Economic Times previously stated that India’s air force command considers the Russian fighter and the Rafale to be complementary and that the former does not replace the need for the latter.
    India could also upgrade the Su-35S with western avionics, BrahMos cruise missiles, Astra, Derby or Python 5 AAMs as well.