It is hard to justify $225 million a plane for an increasingly

Was Rafale a must for the IAF

Since the turn of the century, when the Indian Air Force began its quest for cheap, light fighters to replace the Soviet era fleet of light MiG variants, the IAF’s specifications for the replacement fighter have changed so much as to be almost unrecognisable.

canada goose uk shop From supporting development of an indigenous fighter to adding more fighters to the Mirage 2000 fleet, the IAF switched tack to buying medium, multi role combat aircraft canada goose outlet (MMRCA) through competitive global tendering; to eventually buying 36 Rafale fighters in a government to government deal with France. canada goose uk shop

In the newest twist, after Prime Minister buy canada goose uk Narendra D Modi announced on April 10, 2015, canada goose outlet germany in Paris that India would procure 36 Rafale fighters from Dassault, the justification for acquiring such a high end fighter transformed into veiled hints that it be a platform for delivering nuclear weapons in wartime.

canadian goose jacket Three days after Modi’s Rafale announcement, then defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Doordarshan: ‘It is a strategic purchase and should never have gone through an RFP (Request for Proposals, or a competitive tender).’ canadian goose jacket

canada goose black friday sale Most nuclear strategists have taken ‘strategic purchase’ to mean that India would rig Rafale fighters to deliver nuclear weapons in place of the Mirage 2000s and Jaguars that currently do the job as the airborne leg of its nuclear triad. canada goose black friday sale

In the calculations of many analysts, there could be no other valid reason for an air force that already operates seven types of fighters to buy just 36 aircraft of an entirely new type, further complicating a logistical nightmare.

Furthermore, canada goose parka outlet uk nuclear strategists say in the era of highly reliable land based and submarine launched ballistic missiles, delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft is a dispensable option.

canada goose coats on sale Says Vipin Narang, nuclear strategist at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology: “Given India’s diverse and capable land and sea canada goose outlet london uk based missiles, it is worth considering whether one even canada goose outlet toronto needs a replacement delivery platform for nuclear gravity bombs.” canada goose coats on sale

“If India is committed to a triad, a more cost effective solution may be to make Brahmos a nuclear missile and use the Sukhoi 30MKI to deliver it,” adds Narang, “obviating the need to replace the Mirage and Jaguars. It is hard to justify $225 million a plane for an increasingly obsolete mission.”

If indeed the Rafale’s nuclear capability led to its purchase, it remains unclear why the government does not publicly state it?

The commitment to a nuclear triad of delivery of nukes by land, sea and air is publicly enunciated in India’s nuclear doctrine.

canada goose factory sale It would be reasonable to state that the IAF is paying such a heavy cost to have the most seamless transition from the Mirage 2000 to another French platform, says Narang. canada goose factory sale

Canada Goose Parka However, there would be questions over whether the Rafale needs to do that job. The Mirage 2000 and the Jaguar are both being upgraded, and can act as airborne nuclear vectors till 2030 35. Canada Goose Parka

The nuclear talk is the latest example of the IAF shifting goalposts on its fighter purchase over the past two decades.

canada goose uk black friday Since the early 1980s, when the IAF had 42 fighter squadrons but 30 of them were light MiG variants that faced obsolescence, it was decided to develop the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to replace them. canada goose uk black friday

In 1981, the IAF defined a requirement for a light, single engine to replace the MiGs from the mid canada goose outlet vancouver 1990s. But the LCA eventually flew only in 2001.

The IAF, happy with the performance of the Mirage 2000 in the Kargil war, began lobbying for buying the Mirage production line that Dassault was closing down, and re establishing it in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to build the excellent Mirage 2000 5 fighter.

Canada Goose Jackets “As an air force we were very familiar and comfortable with the operational and tactical handling of the Mirage 2000,” said Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora (retd), who was the vice chief of the air staff till 2010. Canada Goose Jackets

That would have given the IAF large numbers of inexpensive yet sophisticated, single engine fighters, ideal for replacing the MiGs.

Canada Goose Online But the National Democratic Alliance I defence minister George Fernandes, under fire after the Tehelka exposes on defence procurement corruption, shied away from a single vendor buy from Dassault ironically, considering what eventually happened with the Rafale purchase 15 years later. Canada Goose Online

In 2002, Fernandes ordered the IAF to float a global tender. Specifications were framed for a light fighter, and the IAF floated a ‘Request for Information’ to four global canada goose outlet parka vendors in 2004.

However, in 2005, Dassault apparently miffed at having to compete instead of being awarded a single vendor contract foreclosed the option of transferring the Mirage 2000 line to India.

It took the IAF three more years to draw up specifications of a new fighter.

On August 28, 2007, when the IAF canada goose outlet uk fake issued an international tender for what was dubbed the MMRCA, the MiG replacement fighter had canada goose outlet black friday sale morphed into a high tech, medium to heavy fighter that could have one engine or two, and would inevitably cost far more than what was envisaged.

When responses to the tender came in, there were six aircraft in the fray: Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen C; Lockheed Martin F 16 Super Viper; Russian Aircraft Corporation’s MiG 35; Boeing’s F/A 18E/F Super Hornet; Eurofighter’s Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale.

By admin , December 27, 2014


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