India will not be buying French Rafale fighter jets due to their high prices, the Monday edition of Business Standard reported, citing sources in the Indian Ministry of Defense.
Earlier, Indian media reported that the Ministry of Defense of India might refuse to purchase 126 fighters for its Air Force from Rafale, which won the tender in 2012, and instead buy the Russian Su-30MKI.
According to the Business Standard, three years of negotiations between representatives of Rafale and the Ministry of Defense of India revealed that the proposal submitted by the Dassault Company was more expensive than that of its tender competitor – the Eurofighter Typhoon, and not cheaper, as the Ministry of Defense initially announced on January 31, 2012.
“No representative of the Ministry of Defense can approve a contract with Dassault, which will now surpass $20 billion, seeing that the Rafale is now the most inexpensive option,” said an official close to the committee negotiating the contract terms.
According to the publication, the tender for the purchase of 126 medium multi-role fighters was the first time that the Indian Ministry of Defense has calculated the lifecycle cost of the aircraft, rather than just the purchase price. This meant that the winner of the tender was to be the fighter jet with the lowest overall costs in terms of purchase price, operation, and maintenance during the entire 30-40 years of the aircraft’s service life, rather than just the lowest initial price.
“The Ministry of Defense, in considering the incomplete conceptual design project from Dassault, incorrectly judged the Rafale as being the cheaper option. Now, three years later, when we finally received the clear figures from the French, we discovered that India would be spending significantly more than was originally supposed,” said the publication’s source.
Meanwhile, Indian media are writing that the Indian defense establishment is now seriously thinking about dropping the French fighter jet in favor of the better Russian Su-30MKI, which Indian pilots are familiar with, and which is being assembled under license at an Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar also noted the fact that the Su-30MKI meets the requirements of the Indian Air Force. However, the defense establishment has not officially confirmed that it is considering replacing the Rafale with the Su-30MKI.
First published in Russian by RIA Novosti.
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