Defence Minister on a 2-day visit to France; To receive 36 Rafale fighter jets

Defense Minister Raj Nath Singh to visit France on 7th October, 2019. He will receive the Rafale Fighter Jets manufactured for India. He will meet French President Macron the next day. He will also hold annual defence dialogue with his French counterpart.

The Rafale Issue

The IAF – Indian Air Force announced Rafale fighter jets as preferred bidder in 2012. The proposal was that 18 Rafales would be supplied in fly away condition while remaining 108 would be manufactured by HAL – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under transfer of technology agreements. The contract negotiations begun but were stalled due to lack of agreement terms. Reasons of stalling were RFP compliance and cost – related issues.

In 2016, issue rose when the stalled deal was provided to a private party (Anil Ambani).

Why was the deal important to India?

After Kargil war, IAF were of the opinion that the its ability to strike targets require radical improvement. Hence, the government stepped on to initiatives to increase its IAF fleet.

About Rafale aircraft

They are produced by the French Air Force. The countries that are currently using aircraft include Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Significance of Rafale

The aircraft has the capability to perform several actions in the same time. It includes firing air – to – air missiles at low altitude, air to ground missile launching. Both the actions can be intercepted at the same time.

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