Know Your 'Rafale'

Nagraj

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Agreed . but we first attack canada and make our forward bases their . it will help us launch attack on US.
Once we take out USA taking out Europe souldn't be difficult :troll:
so what you guys say let's dump rafale and buy sum j10 and invade europe and america .:plan::shoot::shoot::devious:
 

Kunal Biswas

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MMRCA in retrospect:

Right from the beginning I sad that the MMRCA contest was for the French to "lose".More than the other aircraft,they had the "inside lane" as the IAF was very happy with the M-2000,had earlier wanted more of them,plus possessed several French missiles and used French avionics and key components from SAGEM,etc. in the SU-30MKI programme too.With the IAF signing up with Russia for the FGFA/PAK-FA 5th-gen fiighter,there was little point other than a much lesser acquisition cost for acquiring the MIG-35. Acquiring either US or Euro tech was the best way to widen the tech base of Indian aerospace ,especially when it came to AESA radars,NCW and engines.

With the impossible conditions attached to US weapon systems,the intrusive inspections,a track record of sanctions that crippled the LCA programme at a crucial stage,setting it back by a few years,the fact that it refused to abandon Pak,India's mortal enemy despite 9/11,26/11,etc.;the latest NATO report says that Pak is still supporting the Taliban (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... veals.html),that Pak operated F-16s and both US aircraft were of 3rd gen vintage with extra "makeup",the F-18SH quite expensive too,both US aircraft were handicapped right from the start.

The Gripen was a great little aircraft but too close to the LCA in size and style to be picked as it would endanger the LCA programme still in its developmental stage.Flying with a US engine made it also vulnerable to US sanctions.Veteran high ranking IAF air marshals too preferred a twin-engined aircraft given the high rate of bird strikes in the country,and he sudden emergence of Chinese agression (political,diplomatic and military),which was unforseen by the myopic political/MEA establishment.Waging an air war across Himalayan heights and operating from high alt. airstrips required powerful twin-engined aircraft preferably.

Rafale and Typhoon were the latest 4+ gen Eurocanards that were available and were justifiably shortlisted.But there was a concerted campaign to bring back the US through the back door. Shocked and stunned at being dumped into the dustbin,as the US mistakenly thought that the deal was theirs for the asking after the N-deal was signed,tried desperately touting the JSF as a superior bird .With the PAK-FA/FGFA prototypes already flying,deal signed and sealed with Russia,there was little point in even considering the JSF which was itself the subject of a raging controversy in the US over its delayed arrival,developmental problems and massive cost overruns,prompting even its closest allies like Britain to dump the STOVL version option and drastically reduce numbers of JSFs to be acquired.More importantly,if closest ally Britain could not get 5th-gen JSF tech from the US,fat chance non-ally India would get anything more than screwdriver tech ! The US had also planned a "three-tier" system for export versions depending upon how much moolah an ally had contributed to its development.So one would fly in first,second or third class seats depending upon the price you paid! Lastly,even the USAF were going to get their first sqd. only in 2019 and currently had no aircraft upon which their pilots could be trained.Some US politicos even wanted the whole or part of the project scrapped! To add insult to injury,despite all these well known facts, US diplomutts and military experts kept on touting the JSF through "megaphone" methods,even roping in Indian "cheer leaders",imagining that the IAF were ignoramuses and that a concerted PR campaign would make it dump the two finalists in favour of an aircraft that cannot better the air-to-air combat capability of a '70s vintage F-16!

Between the two in performance there was little to choose from.Both did fit the bill and were shortlisted with costs being the deciding factor...in principle.In reality however,it appears in retrospect,that the IAF had already made up its mind after the first technical evaluation.Dealing with one nation was so much more preferable to attending innumerable multi-national conferences required for each decision on EF upgrades etc., which had to be approved by each partner! This could prove a proverbial "Brussels" nightmare for the MOD later on.Open criticism from British MPs and others about the high cost of development and exorbitant price ,made the EF less attractive than the Rafale.,which had the edge but was equally expensive having been bought by no other nation! It was a regular loser in contests and despite good showings in battle in Afghanistan and Libya,there was doubt in certain quarters about future French commitment to its future development.

Despite the "tilt" in the Rafale's favour ,the French problem was how to swing in the final financial stakes such an expensive aircraft which had failed in many competitions in contributary part due to its high cost? The answer was to award the French a few lucrative contracts in advance,or assure them of the same,so that they could use the anticipated "bonus profits" to make an attractive bid.This they quietly did well knowing what the price-band the EF would be offered at,given their experience in previous contests where they had lost to the Euro-bird.

Thus the M-2000 upgrade was first signed,at exorbitant costs,even questioned by many within the IAF itself. This assured the French that they would have adequate financial bargaining power in the final bid.Deal 2 for MICA AAMs was also cleverly done,AFTER the shortlisting,so as not to excite and arouse suspicions.A masterstroke! They well knew that it would come through,and at what cost,and factored in this additional bargaining chip.The EF camp knew that the French would give a good discount as they were more desperate than even the EF nations,who were sure of more orders as an interim buy,for nations who had opted for the JSF,whose final costs still could not be determined and much delayed, thanks to developmental technical problems,and now expected to arrive in European colours only in 2020+.They felt assured from the warm reception their heads received when in India and from the keen interest being shown in the EF and deliberate leaks in the media that they were "in front",lulled them into a false sense of belief in winning the contest on both technical and cost factors.Their discounted price was therefore also attractive but they never estimated how much lower the French would actually go as "deal-2" for MICA missiles had not yet been signed.

Despite being lower,even after the bids were opened,the frantic scuttling between Europe and India by reps of both sides, showed how close a call the deal actually was,but the "inside lane" that the Rafale had was the vital "edge".If political considerations too played a vital part,the French were up there right at the top with UN reforms,N-plants and N-tech to sweeten the deal. All-in-all,a monumental and famous victory for the French ,as they defeated not just the Russians and Swedes,but also the all-mighty US of A,which had the GOI in its pocket in many ways. Most deliciously of all they defeated "perfidious Albion" ,with whom Pres.Sarko had just had the most inelegant of public spats with his opposite number David Cameron at an EU summit.The equally public spat between Britan and Germany over the fall of the Euro did nothing to advance their case for seamless multi-national "cooperation" of the EF's diverse partenrs. David C'ameron's dismay and desperate plea to the GOI to "reconsider" the myriad virtues of his "daughter" offered in marriage and spurned by the "groom", indicates how much the decision is smarting for the Eurofighter nations,especially the British.
Gen.Dupleix must be raising a glass of "champers" wherever he is ,not forgetting another Frenchman,a certain Napoleon Bonaparte!

The last throw of the dice from the losing encampments will be trying to influence the Indian Fin. Min. to delay or dump the deal on the basis of the huge sums involved in acquiring it.There's "many a slip 'tween the cup and the lip",but saying it for perhaps the last time,"the deal is for the French to lose" and I doubt very much if they will let it slip out of their hands this time.Too much rides on this deal for France,not least the outcome of the next French presidential elections.Asterix and Obelix have defeated not just the multi-national Roman army and the Cossacks,but also "Hagar the Horrible" and last but not least."Micky Mouse.Donald Duck and Goofy" !

source : http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/vie...6343&start=280
 

Folk hero

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Well buddy wrong on many counts, US is well out of the cold war mindset, it has diverted a significant amount of attention to the rest of the world threats, they still talk with Russia, they both know a war between them is a war to the end.

That said US fully understands that they need a equal partner in India and can't really boss us around, the problem lies with the their age old export policy which is in dire need of reforms. US knows pak is a threat to everyone however they simply can't nuke them or attack them while risking an all out nuke war, any attack will automatically lead to loose nukes in the hands of radicals, however the number of SF exercises between our nations both in public and secretly have increased obviously we train with them in order to take care of pak and china if the need arises.

Times have changed, we are not jumping into a fast friendship, since old sayings are true, fast friendships lead to disasters. We are taking it slow, so are they. We are democracies and we are bound to be natural allies, we have much to gain, so do they.

To be enemies with the US is ludacris, a war with the US is a war to the end. We neither have the military might or the global extensive reach that the US has for decades, lets not go make enemies where there is no need to do so. We have enough enemies as it is.

Slow and steady wins the race, our closeness with US is on the rise and is bound to increase.
US diverted it's attention toword the world as early as 1946 so what's the point are you saying india is on another planet sorry but any rising power would be threat .

wait a minute what this have to US and Russia war i don't think you undarstand what i mean cold war mind set let me put in a simple terms i am superior(USA) your inferior(rest of the world) that's what i mean by cold war mind set.

sorry for us equal means enemy is past USSR now china in future India.

nuclear war with who pakistan seriously if US want's it can carpet bomb pakistan with nuclear bombs, pakistan and its nuclear weapeons is a constant threat to india , and who are the nations that support pakistan Saudi uae turkey china usa yes a muslim nation supporting another is understandable and even china but what about US why are they supporting global enemy no1

aaaa it's already 2.18
am rest morning
 

Nagraj

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Please open a separate thread for history if you are so intent on discussing it.
Kindly let this thread for MMRCA discussion.
 

Armand2REP

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I don't want to buy back used Mirages... we already got too many of them. They want $40 million apiece which is far more than what it costs to upgrade the existing inventory. Can we resell them at that or a greater price? Apparently there is a market for used M2000. Doing so means Thales losses the business of upgrading them unless we don't induct any and do a straight sale.
 

p2prada

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Back on Rafale - does anyone know how many will be built by HAL each year? How soon will they finish the 126? P2Prada mentioned some numbers, but I think he pulled them out of his hat ...
A squadron a year is guaranteed. This was mentioned by IAF too. Now this could be as low as 16 and as high as 20. I would expect 20 rather than 16, or a more modest 18. But everything depends on the final contract which is yet to be signed and is still far away from happening.
 

p2prada

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I don't want to buy back used Mirages... we already got too many of them. They want $40 million apiece which is far more than what it costs to upgrade the existing inventory. Can we resell them at that or a greater price? Apparently there is a market for used M2000. Doing so means Thales losses the business of upgrading them unless we don't induct any and do a straight sale.
France may become the intermediate agent and simply sell the M-2000s to a third party.
 

KS

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Deal is off the table last I heard. OFB is building the Bofors instead.
Those two deals are different.

The howies OFB is building is 155mm/39 cal for general use in the Western front.

M777 was ULH which was supposed to equip exclusively the two mountain divisions that are to be raised (or in the process of being raised) on the Chinese border.
 

KS

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JAYRAM

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The Rafale will eventually equip six squadrons of the IAF, each authorised 21 fighters. It is a delta-wing fighter with canards, which make it highly manoeuvrable and also allow it to land at speeds as low as 200 kmph. This makes it suitable for aircraft carrier operations, a key advantage over the Typhoon.

The fighter needs just 1,300-1,400 feet of runway to get airborne, an advantage in operating from air bases close to the border. Two Snecma M88 engines power the Rafale, allowing it to "supercruise" or fly at supersonic speeds without using afterburners. A key system is the Thales Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which is still under development. The Indian contract demands transfer of technology for the AESA radar.

The order of 126 Rafales caters only to the IAF's requirement. The Indian Navy, too, has expressed interest in the Rafale (amongst several other fighters) for its aircraft carrier fleet. While the INS Vikramaditya (formerly, the Russian Gorshkov) will deploy MiG-29K fighters, the under-construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, with another vessel to follow, will also require carrier-borne fighters. A naval version of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is close to flying. However, there is likely to be an additional requirement for heavy fighters like the Rafale for the naval fleet. Experts have forecast India would eventually acquire about 200 medium multi-role combat aircraft.
Broadsword: Indian Air Force may get 126 Rafale fighter planes
 

KS

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Credit - XiniX

Right from the beginning the MMRCA contest was for the French to "lose".

More than the other aircraft,they had the "inside lane" as the IAF was very happy with the M-2000,had earlier wanted more of them,plus possessed several French missiles and used French avionics and key components from SAGEM,etc. in the SU-30MKI programme too.

With the IAF signing up with Russia for the FGFA/PAK-FA 5th-gen fiighter,there was little point other than a much lesser acquisition cost for acquiring the MIG-35. Acquiring either US or Euro tech was the best way to widen the tech base of Indian aerospace ,especially when it came to AESA radars,NCW and engines.

With the impossible conditions attached to US weapon systems,the intrusive inspections,a track record of sanctions that crippled the LCA programme at a crucial stage,setting it back by a few years,the fact that it refused to abandon Pak,India's mortal enemy despite 9/11,26/11,etc.;the latest NATO report says that Pak is still supporting the Taliban ,that Pak operated F-16s and both US aircraft were of 3rd gen vintage with extra "makeup",the F-18SH quite expensive too,both US aircraft were handicapped right from the start.

The Gripen was a great little aircraft but too close to the LCA in size and style to be picked as it would endanger the LCA programme still in its developmental stage.Flying with a US engine made it also vulnerable to US sanctions.

Veteran high ranking IAF air marshals too preferred a twin-engined aircraft given the high rate of bird strikes in the country,and he sudden emergence of Chinese agression (political,diplomatic and military),which was unforseen by the myopic political/MEA establishment.Waging an air war across Himalayan heights and operating from high alt. airstrips required powerful twin-engined aircraft preferably.

Rafale and Typhoon were the latest 4+ gen Eurocanards that were available and were justifiably shortlisted.But there was a concerted campaign to bring back the US through the back door. Shocked and stunned at being dumped into the dustbin,as the US mistakenly thought that the deal was theirs for the asking after the N-deal was signed,tried desperately touting the JSF as a superior bird .

With the PAK-FA/FGFA prototypes already flying,deal signed and sealed with Russia,there was little point in even considering the JSF which was itself the subject of a raging controversy in the US over its delayed arrival,developmental problems and massive cost overruns,prompting even its closest allies like Britain to dump the STOVL version option and drastically reduce numbers of JSFs to be acquired.More importantly,if closest ally Britain could not get 5th-gen JSF tech from the US,fat chance non-ally India would get anything more than screwdriver tech !

The US had also planned a "three-tier" system for export versions depending upon how much moolah an ally had contributed to its development.So one would fly in first,second or third class seats depending upon the price you paid! Lastly,even the USAF were going to get their first sqd. only in 2019 and currently had no aircraft upon which their pilots could be trained.Some US politicos even wanted the whole or part of the project scrapped!

To add insult to injury,despite all these well known facts, US diplomutts and military experts kept on touting the JSF through "megaphone" methods,even roping in Indian "cheer leaders",imagining that the IAF were ignoramuses and that a concerted PR campaign would make it dump the two finalists in favour of an aircraft that cannot better the air-to-air combat capability of a '70s vintage F-16!

Between the two in performance there was little to choose from.Both did fit the bill and were shortlisted with costs being the deciding factor...in principle.

In reality however,it appears in retrospect,that the IAF had already made up its mind after the first technical evaluation.Dealing with one nation was so much more preferable to attending innumerable multi-national conferences required for each decision on EF upgrades etc., which had to be approved by each partner! This could prove a proverbial "Brussels" nightmare for the MOD later on.Open criticism from British MPs and others about the high cost of development and exorbitant price ,made the EF less attractive than the Rafale.,which had the edge but was equally expensive having been bought by no other nation!

It was a regular loser in contests and despite good showings in battle in Afghanistan and Libya,there was doubt in certain quarters about future French commitment to its future development.

Despite the "tilt" in the Rafale's favour ,the French problem was how to swing in the final financial stakes such an expensive aircraft which had failed in many competitions in contributary part due to its high cost? The answer was to award the French a few lucrative contracts in advance,or assure them of the same,so that they could use the anticipated "bonus profits" to make an attractive bid.This they quietly did well knowing what the price-band the EF would be offered at,given their experience in previous contests where they had lost to the Euro-bird.

Thus the M-2000 upgrade was first signed,at exorbitant costs,even questioned by many within the IAF itself. This assured the French that they would have adequate financial bargaining power in the final bid.Deal 2 for MICA AAMs was also cleverly done,AFTER the shortlisting,so as not to excite and arouse suspicions.A masterstroke !

They well knew that it would come through,and at what cost,and factored in this additional bargaining chip.The EF camp knew that the French would give a good discount as they were more desperate than even the EF nations,who were sure of more orders as an interim buy,for nations who had opted for the JSF,whose final costs still could not be determined and much delayed, thanks to developmental technical problems,and now expected to arrive in European colours only in 2020+.

They felt assured from the warm reception their heads received when in India and from the keen interest being shown in the EF and deliberate leaks in the media that they were "in front",lulled them into a false sense of belief in winning the contest on both technical and cost factors.Their discounted price was therefore also attractive but they never estimated how much lower the French would actually go as "deal-2" for MICA missiles had not yet been signed.

Despite being lower,even after the bids were opened,the frantic scuttling between Europe and India by reps of both sides, showed how close a call the deal actually was,but the "inside lane" that the Rafale had was the vital "edge".

If political considerations too played a vital part,the French were up there right at the top with UN reforms,N-plants and N-tech to sweeten the deal. All-in-all,a monumental and famous victory for the French ,as they defeated not just the Russians and Swedes,but also the all-mighty US of A,which had the GOI in its pocket in many ways.

Most deliciously of all they defeated "perfidious Albion" ,with whom Pres.Sarko had just had the most inelegant of public spats with his opposite number David Cameron at an EU summit.The equally public spat between Britan and Germany over the fall of the Euro did nothing to advance their case for seamless multi-national "cooperation" of the EF's diverse partenrs. David Cameron's dismay and desperate plea to the GOI to "reconsider" the myriad virtues of his "daughter" offered in marriage and spurned by the "groom", indicates how much the decision is smarting for the Eurofighter nations,especially the British.

Gen.Dupleix must be raising a glass of "champers" wherever he is ,not forgetting another Frenchman,a certain Napoleon Bonaparte!

The last throw of the dice from the losing encampments will be trying to influence the Indian Fin. Min. to delay or dump the deal on the basis of the huge sums involved in acquiring it.There's "many a slip 'tween the cup and the lip",but saying it for perhaps the last time,"the deal is for the French to lose" and I doubt very much if they will let it slip out of their hands this time.

Too much rides on this deal for France,not least the outcome of the next French presidential elections.Asterix and Obelix have defeated not just the multi-national Roman army and the Cossacks,but also "Hagar the Horrible" and last but not least."Micky Mouse.Donald Duck and Goofy" !
US diplomutts...:laugh:
 
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KS

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The Real Reasons for Rafale's Indian Victory



PARIS --- While many observers cite technology transfer, prices and performance as being major factors in India's selection of the Rafale as its next-generation fighter, reality is very different even if these factors obviously did play a significant role.

In the same way that it is true that Rafale lost several competitions through no fault of its own, it must be recognized that its victory in India was also won, to a great extent, through no fault of its own. The real reason for its victory is political, and the long memory of Indian politicians was a major contributing factor.

This is not to say, however, that Rafale's own impressive qualities had nothing to do with its selection. The Indian Air Force, which was extensively briefed by the French air force in the autumn, was particularly impressed by its operational performance during the Libyan bombing campaign and in Afghanistan. Rafale also has a naval variant which could be of future interest to India, given its plans to buy and build aircraft carriers, while the recent decision to upgrade India's Mirage 2000H fighters will simplify the air force's logistics chain, as these will share with Rafale many weapons and other equipment.

The Indian Air Force also is a satisfied user of long standing of French fighters, going back to the Dassault Ouragan in the 1950s. It was also particularly appreciative of the performance of its Mirages during the 1999 Kargil campaign against Pakistan, and of the support it then obtained from France. During that campaign, India obtained French clearance – and possibly more - to urgently adapt Israeli and Russian-supplied laser-guided bombs to the Mirages, which thus able to successfully engage high-altitude targets that Indian MiG-23s and MiG-27s had been unable to reach.

Rafale was preferred because of lower costs, and the Indian air force's familiarity with French warplanes such as the Mirage, Bloomberg reported Feb. 1 quoting an Indian source who asked not be named. "Unit-wise, the French plane is much cheaper than the Eurofighter. Moreover, the Indian air force, which is well equipped with French fighters, is favouring the French," the source said.

To Indian officials, France's steadfastness as a military ally contrasted strongly with that of the United States, which stopped F-16 deliveries to Pakistan (but kept the money) when it found it expedient to do so, and slowed or vetoed delivery of components for Light Combat Aircraft that India was developing. And, of course, the 1998 arms embargo, decreed by the US after India's nuclear test in May of that year, left a very bad taste in Indian mouths. France, on the contrary, was the only Western nation not to impose sanctions.

That, Indian sources say, was New Delhi's real reason for eliminating Boeing and Lockheed Martin from the fighter competition; India has resolved, these sources say, to buy only second-line equipment from the U.S., such as transport (C-17, C-130J) or maritime patrol aircraft (P-8I). Vital weapons such as missiles and fighters, when they cannot be locally produced, will remain the preserve of France and Russia.

Political considerations were also a significant factor playing against Rafale's final competitor, the Eurofighter Typhoon. As this aircraft is produced by a consortium of four nations, each with different foreign policies and different attitudes and tolerances to arms exports, Indian officials were a bit nervous about their ultimate reliability as a single supplier.

Germany is a long-standing Indian aviation partner, and a respected role model for Indian politicians, many of whom were educated there. German companies – essentially the former Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm, now part of EADS - helped Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. develop both the LCA and the Advanced Light Helicopter, now called Dhruv. These links were the reason the Eurofighter bid was led by Germany's Cassidian, and not BAE Systems, the former colonial power. But Germany had dithered over technology transfer for LCA, soft-pedaled on ALH tech transfer when German pacifists raised their eyebrows, and coughed when India almost went to war with Pakistan over Kargil and Kashmir, so in the final analysis it could not be considered a reliable supplier of major weapons.

Italy has never sold a major weapon to India, and so could bring neither influence nor reputation to support Eurofighter, while the third partner, Spain, is totally absent from the Indian military landscape.

This left BAE Systems as the best-known Eurofighter partner in India, and so by default as its ultimate public face. BAE in 2003 sold £1.5 billion's worth of Hawk jet trainers to India, with a follow-on, £500 million order in 2010. However, its previous major sale to India was the Jaguar light attack aircraft in the 1970s. In fact, this aircraft was jointly developed by Britain and France on a 50/50 basis, and while it was license-produced by HAL it was never really successful as a fighter. Furthermore, France could claim as much benefit from its Indian career as BAE.

Taken together, the Eurofighter partner nations posed an even thornier problem: in case of war, German law prohibits deliveries of weapons and spares, Italian law and public opinions would demand an embargo, which Spanish legislation is murky. What would happen, Indian politicians must have wondered, if after buying the Eurofighter they went to war? Would spares and weapons be forthcoming, or would they be embargoed? The political risk was obviously too big to take.

Weapons also played a significant role in persuading India to opt for Rafale: not only is its weapons range mostly French-made, and thus not subject to a third-party embargo, but so are all of its sensors. Eurofighter, whose air-to-air missiles include the US-made AIM-120 Amraam and the German-led IRIS-T, and whose primary air-to-ground weapon is the US-made Paveway, was obviously at a competitive disadvantage in this respect.

Furthermore, the Rafale is nuclear-capable and will replace the Mirage 2000N in French service as the carrier of the newly-upgraded ASMP/A nuclear stand-off missile; it is also capable of firing the AM-39 Exocet missile, giving it an anti-ship capability that its competitors do not have. India is also interested in fitting its BrahMos supersonic missile to a wide range of its combat aircraft, and Rafale could apparently carry it.

Given that India had sworn to buy the cheapest compliant competitor, it would have been unable to justify picking the Rafale had this not been offered at the lower price. While official figures have not been released, and indeed may never be, initial reports from New Delhi claim that Rafale was offered at a unit price of $4-$5 million less than Eurofighter, which is a surprisingly large advantage given the French aircraft's reputation of being high-priced.
Credit : Pankaj.
 

Neil

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news from the pukes....::

Why India is building-up military arsenal


NEW DELHI: India's planned purchase of 126 fighters from France's Dassault marks the latest stage in a huge military procurement cycle that has turned the world's largest democracy into its biggest arms importer.

The final Dassault contract is expected to be worth $12 billion and India is preparing further big ticket purchases over the coming years, including of helicopters and artillery.

In a report to be published next week, Jane's Defence Weekly forecasts that India's aggregate defence procurement spending between 2011 and 2015 will top $100 billion.

What is less clear -- and the subject of some heated debate -- is why New Delhi is so hungry for costly modern weaponry and where the country's strategic priorities lie.

Some argue that India is simply playing catch-up and using its growing economic wealth to effect a pragmatic, and long overdue, overhaul of a military arsenal still loaded with near-obsolete, Soviet-era hardware.

But others sense a more combative impulse, driven by the military modernisation efforts of its rivals and neighbours Pakistan and China, as well as the need to secure energy resources and supply lines outside its borders.

In testimony Tuesday to a Senate Select Committee, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said India was increasingly concerned about China's posture on their disputed border and the wider South Asia region.

"The Indian military is strengthening its forces in preparation to fight a limited conflict along the disputed border, and is working to balance Chinese
power projection in the Indian Ocean," Clapper said.

In order to secure the modern weaponry it needs to buttress its defence imperatives, India has little choice but to spend big in the global arms market.

Its long-stated ambition of sourcing 70 percent of defence equipment from the home market has been hampered by weak domestic production -- the result of the stifling impact of excessive bureaucracy.

Consequently, statistics from the Ministry of Defence show that India still imports 70 percent of its defence hardware.

"Where India has had some success is in joint ventures, and building foreign equipment under license," said James Hardy, Asia Pacific analyst at Jane's -- a respected industry publication.

"The licensed production route seems to be working and at this point in India's development is a good way of overcoming the bureaucratic challenges of indigenous production."

The proposed contract with Dassault envisages the purchase of 18 Rafale aircraft, with the remaining 108 to be built in India.

India's need for a multi-combat fighter is, in part, based on its geographical size which spans several operational theatres with wildly varying topographies.

"The aircraft they have just get worn out," said Hardy. "They want aircraft that can fly, land and take off anywhere from the Himalayas to the deserts of
Rajasthan."

While the Indian Army has traditionally taken the lion's share of the national procurement budget, the focus has begun to shift in recent years toward the air force and navy.

In December, Russia handed over a nuclear-powered attack submarine to India on a 10-year lease -- a deal greeted with alarm and anger by Pakistan.

The Akula II class craft is the first nuclear-powered submarine to be operated by India since it decommissioned its last Soviet-built vessel in 1991.

India is currently completing the development of its own Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarine and the Russian delivery is expected to help crews train for the domestic vessel's introduction into service next year.

India is particularly keen to strengthen its maritime capabilities, given China's pursuit of a powerful "blue water" navy which Delhi sees as a threat to key shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and Indian energy assets in the South China Sea.

But many Indian observers reject suggestions that India is even thinking of getting into an arms race with China.

"The Chinese have a huge, huge lead. They are in a different league," said strategic analyst Uday Bhaskar.

"The gap in conventional terms and WMD (weapons of mass destruction) is so wide in China's favour, that it's just not valid to say India is trying to catch up or seek any kind of equivalence.

"India is simply seeking what it sees as a level of self-sufficiency, and is being constrained by its modest outlay and a decision-making process that drives everyone up the wall. That's why we top of the list of arms-importing nations," Bhaskar said.

China, meanwhile, seems content to gently mock what the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, in December described as the "persecution mania" driving India's military modernisation. (AFP)




Why India is building-up military arsenal
 

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