Rafale slowly moving away from India
Recent information's from Defense ministry, It looks like Rafale and it's associated company's slowly moving away from the earlier proposed deal, Since India failed to negotiate the French team even after very long time consumed by both sides. India first announced to buy a 126 Rafale and additional 72 as Make in India program whose deal value estimated around $12-$15 billions. Which makes one of the finest deal for Indian defense industry and the user Indian Air force. However the ministry suggests the deal value over priced and Rafale's negligence to joining with HAL tampered the progress of So called Indian MMRCA tender.
India selects HAL as primary Indian supplier of Rafale, However France is not impressed with HAL's primary operating structure, and suggested some other private players to be roped in for Rafale Production line in India. The ministry rejects the French suggestion and insists HAL will be the Primary partner of Dassault. France also said, if HAL will be selected Dassault officials may supervise the HAL's performance and Build Quality.
HAL rejected the French's supervise in their work, However the Initial understanding as per the RFP, The Rafale's quality and warranty should taken care by the French's Dassault. Which means Dassault will taken care of HAL produced Rafale too. French refused the plan and shelved the negotiations. Which considered most critical part and the reason of cancelling the MMRCA.
Due to the failure of Initial warranty and over price issue, India plans to buy some 36 Rafale Fighters directly from France without any know how technology transfer, As Prime minister's initial motto of Make in India in each and every defense procurement also buried. Prime Minister announced Indian option of buying 36 Rafale directly from France without any ToT or nothing. Unlike the user IAF wants some other options along with ToT.
The Indian Air force wants the Rafale must equipped with Ingeniously made Astra long range BVR missile and Stand off cruise missile Brahmos. French side agreed the IAF's proposal and ask additional money for customizing the aircraft. The contract negotiation committee rejected the cost escalation and stay with the announced deal value. The French side refused and said they will deliver the Rafale F3 just how France operating without adding Astra and Brahmos. However the user IAF not satisfied about the shortcomings in the Rafale Fighter aircraft's capability without coming with Astra and Brahmos .
The contract negotiation committee also proposed 50% of offset in the deal. France refused the Suggestions and said they will invest only 30% of the deal value in India. However later some reports suggested that France agreed Indian proposal of 50% of deal value money to be invested back in India. The major roadblock kicked and both side moved towards next line of contract negotiations.
Days ago Indian defense minister said the Rafale deal is in final stages of price negotiations, which is reported by Economic times. However there is no clear information about the offset issue and deal value finalization. Which makes the deal still hanging. Minister also confirms that 50% offset issue almost sorted out. However minister didn't said it is finalize.
Minister also confirms that only 36 Rafale's will be procured under government to government contract. There is no additional numbers are planned. However some Air force officials believes that the 36 numbers makes logistics issue and makes no wonder in Combat or any other operations. So it could be another 36 or more will come under Make in India initiative. They also cited the French aerospace involvement in Indian defense sectors.
Safron is the Company who delivering Sneccma M88 Engines to the Rafale Aircraft and invested a Indian assembly line to produce the engines in India. They plans to make Engine parts and assembly line in India to meet the Indian needs of more engines to the first announced MMRCA tender. Reports from Bloomberg cited Safron confirmed they shelved the Indian assembly line plans due to low number of Rafale orders. Which is considered a major drawback in the Rafale deal.
The same news quoting officials circled all over the media since two years, yet no clear changes in the ground, Which makes India might move away from the deal otherwise French will walk away from the Deal. Even after Indian announcement, Qatar and Egypt singed Rafale deal with France and Egypt operating three units of Rafale's.