Thursday 21 March 2019


Meeting IAF’s Demand for Combat Aircraft Cost-effectively

The IAF is clearly unhappy with the delay in the Tejas induction. The 1983 concept is starting to bear fruit today, but is miles short of operational deployment in significant numbers. The Rafale induction has been cut down to 36. Considering the steep payout involved in obtaining this aircraft — which is plainly giving the RM Ms Nirmala Sitharaman sleepless nights, why not bolster the IAF with more Mirage 2000 aircraft, the Almighty’s gift to the IAF?

An easy way out is to acquire from a financially strapped Greece its nearly three squadrons of Mirage 2000 aircraft. The Hellenic AF operates 45 Mirage 2000s — 20 EGM/BGM variant and 25 “5 Mk-II” version.The difference between the Greek EGM/BGM and the 5-Mk II Mirage 2000 is fleeting; post upgrade, they would be identical. Greece also has some 150-odd F-16s. So Athens might willingly sell its Mirages, what with the Greek govt being pushed by EU creditors to repay the outstanding national debt. The upgrade of the Indian fleet of Mirage 2000 costs roughly $43 million per aircraft. Additionally, Qatar might sell off of its 9 Mirage 2000s which India can buy.

That totals 54 planes, more than doubling IAF’s Mirage 2000 fleet of 49. Furthermore, India will not have to invest in any infrastructure or training pilots or technicians. The Modi govt should approach Athens with a deal it cannot refuse, say, $60 million per aircraft plus all the stores, spares, and weapons holdings available for another $100 million. India will have to pay $2.8 billion for the Greek Mirages and an addition one billion $ for the Qatari deal. India will have to pay less than $4 billion for 54 Mirage 2000 versus $8-$9 billion for only 36 Rafales. The latter has an AESA, but then DRDO is building an AESA for the Tejas jointly with Israel that’s going to be tested later this year.That could be retrofitted into the new buys.

Monday 4 March 2019



As explained in a later post, the Indian Ministry of Defence had announced that Dassault Rafale had won the MMRCA competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 aircraft, along with an option for 63 additional aircraft. The first 18 aircraft were to be supplied by Dassault Aviation fully built and the remaining 108 aircraft were to be manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with transfer of technology from Dassault.

in April 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would acquire 36 fully built Rafales citing "critical operational necessity". Defence Minister Parrikar informed the Rajya Sabha that the tender for 126 aircraft had been withdrawn and negotiations for 36 aircraft had begun, and concluded at a total cost of Euros 7.87 billion, with a 50% offset. In effect, Euros 3.94 billion would have to be invested in Indian companies to manufacture components in India, with associated transfer of technology. This was the cheapest buy when compared to the price paid by both Egypt and Qatar.

The leader of the Congress Party in India, Mr Rahul Gandhi called the deal a SCAM and that the unilateral decision to purchase only 36 Rafales at Euros 7.87 billion was made to ensure that Indian billionaire Anil Ambani would get the offset contract and laugh his way to the bank with the Euros 3.94 billion, which should have rightfully gone to HAL. He was immediately countered by saying that he had not read the contract which specified that approximately €1.2 billion or ₹9,000 crore) would be reserved for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He did not accept this statement, calling it a part of the scam.

The published list of offset partners has vindicated the Indian Govt stand that Ambani was one of the approx 90 Indian agencies involved in the offset. That list is given below:

The biggest offset partner in Rafale deal is DRDO with Rs 9,000 crore. Not Ambani, as claimed. The balance of Rs 21,000 crore is split between the three main manufacturers of the Rafale, Thales Rs 6,300 crore, Dassault Rs 8,400 crore & Safran Rs 6,300 crore. Offsets from Thales have been given to 12 Indian companies, from Dassault to 55 Indian companies and from Safran to 22 Indian companies. Ambani's Reliance is one of these 89 companies, clocking only about 3% of the total i.e. around Rs 900 crore. Among the known ones, L&T, Mahindra, HCL, TCS, Cap Gemini India, Titan, Wipro & Godrej feature prominently. HAL also features via a JV (Joint Venture) with Safran.