India Engages in Second Round of Talks with France to Buy 26 Rafale Marine Jets for Navy

India is hard bargaining with France to get a better price for the purchase of 26 Rafale Marine jets, a deal expected to exceed Rs. 50,000 crore. The second round of discussions with the French delegation started on July 8th and is expected to continue for the next 10-12 days.

India’s Negotiation Strategy

India is clear about its negotiation strategy, aiming to keep the base price of the Rafale-M deal for the navy similar to the previous deal for 36 aircraft for the Air Force in 2016. The cost of the deal will include inflation costs, as agreed upon by both parties in the earlier deal.

First Round of Discussions Held in June 2024

The first round of discussions on the deal to purchase 26 Rafale-M fighter jets began last month. Following this, officials from the French government and Dassault company discussed the contract with the Ministry of Defense’s Contract Negotiation Committee. If the Rs. 50,000 crore deal is finalized, France will also provide weapons, simulators, crew training, and logistics support along with the Rafale-M jets.

This deal first came to light during PM Modi’s visit to France last year. Subsequently, the Ministry of Defense issued a request letter, which France accepted in December 2023.

What Else is Included in the Deal?

The French offer includes a package for assembling Indian weapons on the fighter jets. These weapons include the Astra air-to-air missile and Indian-specific landing equipment and necessary tools for operating from aircraft carriers.

France has demonstrated the landing and take-off skills of Rafale jets from Indian aircraft carriers during trials, but additional equipment will be needed for real-time operations, which will also be part of India’s deal.

Deployment of Rafale Marine Jets in the Indian Ocean

The 22 single-seat Rafale-M jets and 4 double-trainer-seat Rafale-M jets purchased for the navy will be deployed on INS Vikrant to counter China in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Navy will station these aircraft at its home base at INS Dega in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Navy double-engine jets are generally more expensive than similar aircraft used by air forces worldwide due to additional capabilities required for sea operations. This includes landing gear used for loading on carriers.

Features of Rafale Marine Jet

  • The Rafale Marine is more advanced than the Rafale fighter jets in India. Its engine is more powerful, allowing the fighter jet to ski-jump off INS Vikrant.
  • It can land in very small spaces, a feature called ‘Short Take-off but Arrestor Landing.’
  • Both types of Rafales have about 85% common components, meaning there will never be a shortage or problem related to spare parts.
  • It is 15.27 meters long, 10.80 meters wide, and 5.34 meters high, weighing 10,600 kg.
  • Its speed is 1,912 kmph, with a range of 3,700 km, and it can fly up to an altitude of 50,000 feet.
  • It is considered best for anti-ship strikes and is also designed for attacks on nuclear plants.

First Batch Delivery May Take 2-3 Years, Air Force Aircraft Took 7 Years

The trial of INS Vikrant has started, with fighter operation tests yet to be conducted. After the deal is sealed, it will take at least a year to complete technical and cost-related formalities.

Experts believe the Rafale is also suitable for the navy because the infrastructure related to the maintenance of Rafales has been prepared by the Air Force, which will also benefit the navy, saving a lot of money.

Sources say the first batch of Rafale-M may take 2-3 years to arrive. The deal for 36 Rafales for the Air Force was made in 2016, and delivery took 7 years.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.