Saturday, May 24, 2014

Will India's New Govt Speed Up Multirole Fighter Deal?

Speculation is self-perpetuating. Who will be India's next Defence Minister? Will there be a major shake-up in the MoD? Are bureaucrats running to edit files that could incriminate them in a supposedly less forgiving set-up that takes office next week? What happens to the long list of unfinished procurements, many of them in their final stages, even if that phrase has lost much of its intended meaning in the Indian acquisition context? The truth is, everything came to a shuddering halt at the turn of the year, and hasn't moved since. But that isn't extraordinary. Election season this time has meant, either through force of rules that kick in, or by an understandable escalation of man-in-charge AK Antony's risk-averse approach, decisions got shelved. Thing is, this hasn't always been the case: in 2004, mere weeks before elections, the government of the time concluded a raft of high-value deals, including the Gorshkov and Phalcon AWACS. That same political coalition takes office next week, albeit with an enormously strengthened mandate. In the context of mil modernisation, I'd say that's a good thing.

Anxiety about what could happen to defence procurements initiated by the outgoing government may not be fully in order. Because as with foreign policy, defence modernisation follows a general thread of continuity. Procurement processes begun by one government usually see the next government follow through. I've been getting calls from a folks asking about whether the M-MRCA deal could see a push. Likely, yes. The outgoing defence minister made ambiguous indications about a 're-look' at crucial aspects of the deal, pertaining specifically to life-cycle costs. The Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha is reported to be planning a presentation to the new Prime Minister and the defence minister he chooses, likely early next month. It is clear that the fighter deal tops his list of modernisation priorities.

On their part, the French government and Dassault Aviation have spent the year showing the Rafale off even more, in a series of manoeuvers directed straight at India. It began in January when the IAF was briefed about flight tests of the Rafale in a new 'heavily armed' configuration. In April this year, two Rafales flew non-stop with a tanker from France to Reunion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean for an exercise, an event that the French Embassy in Delhi made it a point to flag up. Also, four French Air Force Rafales will fly in early next month for the Garuda-V joint exercise with the IAF over the deserts of Western India.

The incoming dispensation is perceived to be more sensitive to military needs, certainly far more than the outgoing one. We'll know what they do with that reputation this year. In its last tenure between 1999-2004, the coalition was hailed as understanding modernisation and military affairs better than any dispensation before it. A thundering mandate, that precludes the political sensitivity of tough decisions, means that the military may have some real reason to cheer for the first time in a decade. That's, at least, the hope.

21 comments :

moodymodi said...

i think modi will deduce the no. of rafale and split MMRCA with Eurofighter

Anonymous said...

NSR says-
France is not interested in sharing technology for the Rafale...
The budget for Rafale will destroy all other acquisition budgets for forseable future...
Produce LCA/Tejas on war footing and upgrade in blocks...
China is begging Russia to buy SU-35 and S-400 systems...
Buy 3 squadrons of SU-35 as they can see deeper and defend India without entering Pakistan or China as they have far long range BVRAAMs...
Rafale only supports French jobs and aerospace industry...
Instead building and buying technology from GE for engine and AESA radar will let India become a more self sustaining aerospace industry and high tech jobs will flourish and kids will dream of working on such projects...
Simply do not buy Rafale as SU-30MKI and Mig-29K will suffice to defend India for now...

Anonymous said...

I feel start three assembly line and produce 60 -75 planes every year. The LCA mk2 production should go for full scale production.freeze the design , produce the prototype of mk2 and add stealth by adding nano particle film in the composite layers and add 4 active jammers and start the full scale production and produce 500 plus planes. LCA mk2 would cost way less in operations and maintanence. The plane can be easily upgradable at minimal cost and as mirage upgrade costs 45 plus million and Rafale upgrade would cost 100 plus million so please scratch the Rafale proposal and cancel the mirage upgrade.

Anonymous said...

india should fist feed, clothe and shelter its poor people. india cannot afford to spend such huge money.

Anonymous said...

Porkies are getting nervous with their junk recently purchased from Jordan. Better they stop purchasing these good for nothing f16 and feed people rather than allowing them to go astray

Anonymous said...

EADS manager chief say the end chain of eurofighter si for 2018, no order.

Anonymous said...

EADS manager chief say the end chain of eurofighter si for 2018, no order.

Anonymous said...

The cost of this flying machine seems more when compared to the LCA- Tejas & Su-30MKI, the new government can invest that money and can get a better version of Tejas. And It seems there is less coordination between IAF (Engineering Wing) and DRDO labs. If they could form a team, the problems in the Tejas could be rectified soon.

Anonymous said...

Shiv, I hope now that the elections are over, you will be covering the Garuda-5 in to-to ! No excuses !!!

Anonymous said...

NSR says ...
The most important obstacles in mass production of Tejas it lack of engine, radar, avionics LRU vendors, etc
India needs to pay GE $$$ to pay for 100% transfer of technology so that we can manufacture GE F-414 from raw materials including fan blades...
When get engine technology and tie up with avionics and radar companies, then they can start producing 24/7 to get to desired numbers...
The oldest ones should be going to upgrade and maintenance assembly line for block upgrades...
This way the process will be followed to get to highest possible technology...
I haope that HAL, DRDO, MOD, politicians, etc takes note of it...
We must do it from scratch...

Shiv Aroor said...

Will be covering the Garuda-5, yes!

Anonymous said...

With India, we never know if a deal is done until delivered&paid. Even when hakf-paid it's not done: France now resists to US pressure for series of ships starting with already built Vladivostok delivery.

Modi personality may not be better seen than Puttin from US as well as Europe: This is now imo another threat on this (too) long deal.

victor raj said...

Rafale's operating cost is 14000$ while Gripen JAS 39 is just 3500$. LCA Tejas is lower than that. I am not sure whether Rafale is that much worthy to buy. Rafale has better capability but it seems the operational cost and the per aircraft cost is too high. I will wait till the Euro value hits 70RS and then buy Rafales with with full TOT, especially TOT for engine.We need to wait at least 6 months for the Euro value to get down.

bablu prasad said...

Making Rafael inroads to IAF wouldn't help in paving the way for indigenous aero industry. IAF should stick to Tejas MK2 quantitavely which will bring confidence to creaking industry rather than throwing billions into winds. Even after decades long efforts to manufacture high end MKIs had failed to yield any results and HAL is mere playing a role of assembler.

Anonymous said...


price lifecycle depend of what you put in, you can compare only if you get complete detail. do you have the detail lifecyl ? no! you cannot compare. :-))

23 years for the Tejas light trainer, with american engine and simple radar doppler not bad, wait tejas II ^^, see you in 20 years for status

Anonymous said...

Strange, Juni 2013, come Garuda 5 in india, exercice rafale vs SU30, Mig27, Mig21, but no Tejas present ? it was supposed ready for service ? Not working for fight ?

Satpathy said...

Shiv, great to hear that you'll be in J'pore to cover Garuda-V...
Yippee ! Looking forward to it.

Satpathy said...

@ Anonymous questioning as to why Tejas is not going to be part of Garuda-V ---->

How do you expect an aircraft that has not even completed FOC to be part of an exercise as extensive as Garuda.

What I am surprised by is that the IAF will not be including its Mirage 2000s in the exercise.

Anonymous said...

Not illogic, French pilot know very the M2000 and all tactic. It would be an advantage like chine know very well the su30. I can undestand.
oh! may be you dont know, because information is not published,
SU30 was defeated by 3 rafale in bvr mode in rule agressor, pilot su30 trying to get fight direct, but maintain always the distance, they cannot lock and all su30 was shoot down. It was very impressiv.
Sometime it is not good to say thing like that officaly. Like the F22 vs rafale fight, the american dont appreciate the video showing the rafale shot down the raptor by gun and fox2. i can compare su30 like eurofighter level, it would be not a problem.


Anonymous said...

Hope not, Learn from china and throw money on tajes and AMCA.

Dr. Anil Kr Chojar said...

Buy only 45 rafales, and 100 MIG-35 to meet the immediate needs of high-tech plans and falling squadron numbers; develop LCA II with the U.S. engine technology; develop super sukhois to match with SU-35s; buy only 100 FGFA and develop our own AMCA with the U.S. and Russian technologies.

Dr. Anil K.C.