Defence

Why Rafale could become last foreign fighter jet in IAF inventory

By Defence View

In September 2016 India signed an agreement with France for the procurement of 36 Dassault Rafale at the cost of ₹59,000 Crore. After 36 months of contract signing, Dassault started delivery of the first batch of Rafale fighter aircraft in October 2019.

Since independence, India is dependent upon foreign countries for fighter aircraft. Most of the requirements of IAF were filled by Russian and French jets. The most recent purchase of fighter aircraft for IAF with an foreign vendor is the procurement of Rafale jets and it seems like Rafale is going to be the last foreign aircraft in IAF inventory.

Nearly 70 years after independence, for the first time it seems like India could finally become self-reliant in developing fighter aircraft, if the government continues to give a push on Make in India.

What about MRFA ?
IAF is planning to acquire 114 Rafale like fighter aircraft under MRFA tender. But with every passing day, MRFA is getting complicated. Currently around 8 fighter aircraft from American, Russian and European companies are participating in MRFA.

At least 3 aircraft under this tender are meeting General Staff Qualitative Requirements of IAF. They are F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, Typhoon from Eurofighter and obviously Dassault Rafale.

Under these types of the tendering process, the Armed Forces awarded a contract to the company who placed lowest bids and in this case it is Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet. While Dassault is the highest bidder.

So by the tendering process Boeing has the favourite company who can win MRFA. But IAF cannot purchase any fighter aircraft other than Rafale under MRFA.

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