Friday 26 April 2019, 07:53 AM
Minister awaits panel report to seal Rafale deal
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/18/2015 12:00:00 AM
Minister awaits panel report to seal Rafale deal

Bengaluru : The defence ministry has cleared the air on buying the Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, saying it is awaiting the final report of the commercial negotiations committee (CNC) and that there are no second thoughts on the combat jet.

"I will not like to comment until the CNC gives its final report, which is expected by this month-end or early March," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here Wednesday.

Denying delays on finalising the multi-billion dollar deal by the NDA government, which came to power nine months ago, Parrikar said he had directed the CNC to speed up the process of completing the report so that a decision could be soon taken on the fighter's acquisition.

"The CNC is reviewing the long-term costs or the life cycle costs, which are incurred over the life of the fighter. As the deal is under processing, I cannot comment. If I say anything, it will prejudice the CNC," Parrikar said on the margins of Aero India 2015 trade expo at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the city's outskirts.

Asserting that the selection of the Rafale was final, Parrikar said the government had no plan B or was looking for an alternative aircraft.

IAF had shortlisted Rafale for induction into its frontline combat fleet, replacing the ageing Soviet-era MiG-21 squadron.

The deal is estimated to cost $20 billion for delivery of 126 fighters, including 18 off-the-shelf by Dassault, and 108 to be manufactured in India under licensed production by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) overtime, with 50 percent offset obligations to benefit the domestic aerospace industry.

The IAF opted for the twin-engined Rafale in Jan 2012 over Eurofighter TyphoonAof the European consortium EADS Cassidian after outsmarting F-16 of American Lockheed Martin, F/A-18 of Boeing, MiG-35 of Russian United Aircraft Corp's and Swedishi SAAB's Gripen in a global competitive bid floated in Aug 2007.

"We want Rafale to take the responsibility of delivering the same product it has given to the French air force. We want a commitment from them (Dassault) on technology transfer to India and ensure there would be no compromise on its features," Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said on the occasion.

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Minister awaits panel report to seal Rafale deal

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