Poor Cameron! India firm on IAF deal with France

Modi and Cameron at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK

UK’s effors to get a deal for Typhoon fighter jets crashed as IAF chief says the deal with Rafale will be inked by year end….reports Asian Lite News

Modi and Cameron  at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK
Modi and Cameron at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK

Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha hoped the deal between India and France for Rafale fighter jets would be signed before end of this year.

UK is trying get the multi-billion deal for it Typhoon fighter jets. Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft providing simultaneously deployable Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface capabilities.

During a visit to France, Modi agreed to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft off the shelf. This was part of a $24 billion defence deal for 126 aircraft aiming to replace outdated Russian-built MiG aircraft with modern Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). But the deal is under cloud as France is reportedly hesitant to share the technology to build the remaining lot of Rafale in India.

In an exclusive interview with Asian Lite earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron has offered assistance to India to help develop its “own world class fighter aircraft” which is “better than Rafale”.

Cameron said Britain is ready to help India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautical Limited to develop world class fighter jets.

“The British offer of Eurofighter Typhoon to India is still on table,” Cameron said. “It will come along with technological and engineering assistance for India to develop its own world class fighter aircraft. It will be a better deal than Rafale,” said Cameron.

Cameron was commenting on India’s decision to buy  Rafale fighters from France over the Eurofighter Typhoon of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Asked when was the deal for 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition expected to be inked, the Indian Air Force chief said: “I hope it will happen by the year end.” “We expect it to happen quickly,” he said.

Hasimara, around 15 km away from India-Bhutan border, has a crucial air base of India in the eastern sector. It has two squadrons of Mig 27s, which are likely to be phased out in the next few years.

According to sources, at least one of the Rafale squadrons is expected to be based at Hasimara. At an interaction with journalists earlier, Raha said that Rafale was one of the replacements for the Migs being phased out.

“The Mig 27, the ones which have not been upgraded, are going to retire in next 2-3 years. We have a roadmap for replacements,” he said.

“Rafale is on the table. There are Su30 MKIs, the ones being made in India, and the LCA,” he said.

The IAF currently has 33 combat squadrons against a sanctioned strength of 39.5, which is sought to be raised to 42.

On Saturday, President Pranab Mukherjee honoured two squadrons based at Hasimara, the 18 Squadron and the 22 Squadron, with President’s Standard.

New Delhi picked the Rafale fighters over the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by EADS and financed by a four-nation consortium that includes Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy for the Indian Air Force in 2012.

Dassault also beat US bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Sweden’s Saab and the Russian makers of the MiG-35. Rafale has a naval variant that could interest the Indian military in the future.