This video shows you that The Fighter For India’s Future: Going Back To The Beginning.
The Indian Air Force has just released an RFI (request for information) for 110 fighters not very much after the Narendra Modi government scrapped the MMRCA deal for 126 fighters to buy 18 ready for combat Rafale fighters and 108 to be built in India. The French Rafale was chosen as the fighter for the future after an almost decade-long process of contemplation, examination, evaluation and a competition that came to be called the “shoot-out”. We still haven’t got to know why it really was scrapped?
The IAF was hoping for a minimum of four squadrons of Rafale fighters, but the Narendra Modi government has kept the initial order down to 36 fighters in a flyaway condition for 7.8 billion euros or $9.13 billion (@1 euro=$1.17).
Commenting on this, the officer who headed the intensive selection process that led to the choice of the Rafale, Air Marshal (retd.) M. Matheswaran observed that “the original MMRCA tender was cleared for $10.5 billion for 126 aircraft,” suggesting that delay in deciding is also a factor that is costing the country dear.
The Rafale is a twin engine, canard delta wing, multi-role fighter designed and built by Dassault Avions to replace a multitude of specialised platforms such as the Jaguar, Mirage F-1, Mirage 2000 and Super Etendard. To that extent it is truly a multi-role aircraft, but is still very different from what it was initially intended to originally replace — the Mirage 2000.
The single engine Mirage 2000 was designed as a competitor to the USA’s F-16 and made an impressive debut at the Farnborough air show in 1978. In 1985, in response to Pakistan’s acquisition of F-16 fighters, the Rajiv Gandhi government decided to induct 150 Mirage 2000 fighters into the IAF. The first 49 aircraft were to be imported from France and the rest manufactured by HAL. But the second part of the program was not implemented despite HAL having invested in an assembly line for Mirage 2000’s. What happened is still a matter of speculation.
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