Rafale is possibly the most potent Euro-Canards up in the sky, which very few systems can actually bring down. However, a focussed and concentrated effort by the Congress by spreading canards about the deal might hurt the craft in ways no technology can.
You must have all come across posts similar to the one provided below? It isn’t anything new. It is the dead dog of the failed attempt to create a ‘Bofors’ zombie out of a Rafale back in 2018 (that was when I had originally posted this article in my FB Blog). The same brouhaha is being flogged back into life again, now that the Rafales have landed. Insofar as I am concerned, the charges about the Rafale deals are all being made with innuendos, insinuations, asides and whataboutery. If people are so sure about their positions they should be in a position to bring out the issues with specifics, mostly cos there is a plethora of specifics associated with the Rafale, beyond generalities. Enough at least to separate the chaff from the wheat.
Discalimer: At the outset, I would like to state that wrt the Rafale deal I have no privileged information, and all that I have culled has been from public sources. Given the hectic roiling of waters wrt Rafale, I thought I would collate all that I know and place it in a post so that there are a complete FAQ and listing of facts. In case there are any incorrect assumption, misrepresentation OR fallacy, please do point it out and I will correct the same.
The issues which I will try and list out are:
- The fight of figures. Where do the figures come from?
- How is an aeroplane priced?
- What were the figures under consideration?
- Where is the scope to syphon?
- Rafale and HAL
- The India specific modifications/upgrades
- What are the India specific upgrades? Were they already included in the RFP?
- Comparing modifications: Rafale & Mirage
- Has India gotten a Bad deal?
- Comparing with the MMRCA deal
- Comparing with other countries (Egypt and Qatar)
- How did the Rafale or MMRCA deal come about?
- Why was the order downgraded from 126 to 36? What put the MMRCA in the back burner?
- How is this deal better or worse than the previous MMRCA deal?
- The Difference Between F3 And F3R tranche
- The offset conundrum
- The weakest link in the chain
- How much is the Reliance-Dassault deal actually worth?
- Why “Import from France” and not “Make in India”?
- Are the BJP any holier than Congress? What brought about this Rafale offensive?
- Can we allow this political wrangling to hold defence procurement hostage?
Now to address each of these questions one by one.
The fight of figures. 540 Crs to 1670 Crs, where do the figures come from?
The figure of Rs.525 crore or approximately €79 million per Rafale, which Rahul Gandhi, the Indian National Congress and those borrowing from them have been citing, is based on Dassault Aviation’s 2007 RFP response towards the Flyaway Cost at the then exchange rate (€I = Rs.66) and that too for only the 18 Rafales that were to be delivered off-the-shelf by Dassault Aviation.
But where was this cost coming from? Was it the only cost for consideration?
How is an aeroplane priced? The 3 ways to price an aircraft
- The Flyaway cost: This is the cost of the production and production tools essential for building a single unit. This includes the amortization of factory, the direct costs inputs into building the plane, the cost of machinery apportioned per plane, the labour cost of building the aircraft, the material cost of the aircraft and each of its subsystems and components etc. However this is neither the true cost of the aircraft nor the cost at which it is sold. For, this cost doesn’t include various other costs incurred towards the plane, which can include:
- Design, Research and Development costs
- Testing cost (which is quite substantial)
- Other associated program costs
We therefore come to, what is known as, the Weapon System cost
- The Weapon System cost: The weapons system cost (often referred to as the procurement cost) is the total price of the aircraft. The sum of the aggregate flyaway cost and the research & development cost is then divided by the number of aircraft, equivalent to average total production cost.
A good way of looking at the difference is the flyaway cost is the cost of making the aircraft, but the weapons system cost is the cost of buying the aircraft. Weapons systems costs may include ancillary equipment costs, one time non-recurring contract costs, and airframe, engine and avionics support costs.
For example, the flyaway cost for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet up to 2009 (for the 449 units built) was US$ 57.5 million per unit, but the weapons system cost was 39.8% higher, at US$80.4 million per unit. The production cost of technologically complicated aircraft will always be higher during the low rate initial production period, and costs per units invariably drop as an aircraft is put into full production. Thus, the true cost of a Rafale (after loading development cost), on the basis of the above, works out to:
However, if the complete development cos is loaded onto the beginning set of aircrafts, it would make the purchase unattractive and the subsequent aircrafts would be subsidised. Thus one generally apportions a portion of it the Flyaway Cost.
- The Life cycle cost: Even the ‘Procurement cost’ doesn’t always provide a true picture of the cost. Just like, the procurement cost of a printer doesn’t provide a true picture of the cost of printing, given that the rate of consumption, cost of consumables, rate of print might all differ.
For example, while the procurement cost of Russian aircraft is low in comparison to its Western counterparts, its fuel consumption, its wear and tear of the engine, its maintenance and repairs cost, parts replacement, availability costs etc provides a picture very different from its original ‘procurement’ cost. Its engines generally have half the life of its Western Counterpart (say 4000 Hrs to 8000 Hrs)
Thus, the ‘Life cycle cost’ is worked out for an aircraft to make a more holistic comparison. This, as per the previous Chief of Air Staff works out to around $300-350 million per aircraft. Thus, we come to the issue as to How valid is the cost being quoted by sources?
Irrespective, the 2007 price of Rs.525 crore or approximately €79 million per Rafale for each of the 18 Rafales would have amounted in 2015 to €100.85 million, adjusting for the inflation allowed (by the MMRCA documents) at 3.5% (Rs.765.4 crore at 2015 exchange rate of €1 = Rs 75.90). Similarly, the 2007 bid price for every Eurofighter EF-2000 would in 2015 have worked out to be €102.85 million, higher than that of the Rafale.
In comparison, the average price of each of the 36 “bare/green” Rafales bought in 2016 is €91.7 million (Rs.696 crore at the 2015 exchange rate), lower than both the earlier 2007 Rafale and Eurofighter EF-2000 RFP responses. The exact price for the 28 single-seat Rafales is €91.07 million (Rs.681 crore) each, and that of each of the eight tandem-seat Rafales is €94 million (Rs.703 crore). This, despite the quantum of the order being smaller than the original 126 (though there is nothing to suggest that the order of 36 is the ONLY order which is going to be placed on the Rafale).
The India specific modifications/upgrade costs – Are they justified?
There was one way to still fix the deal. Say one was paying 100+x for the fighter, ‘x’ being the extra component which was to be routed back, yet wanted to give an impression that one has been able to extract a good deal, the best way would be to state that the agreed price is 90+y, where y=x+10. As ‘y’ can’t truly be determined, if one made enough noise about ‘y’, the purported perfidy might be outed. That is the logic on the basis of which some commentators are stating “Most aerospace industry executives agree the ‘India-specific enhancements’ are a part of the Rafale operational platform and should be included in its price.” Thus squarely insinuating that the ‘modifications’ are smokescreen to hide under-the-table accounting. None though are clarifying as to how that can be done in a Govt to Govt deal, where national auditors will be going through each aspect of the deal independently. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that such a thing was possible, let us inspect each of the modifications:
INTEGRATING ISRAELI SYSTEMS
- Integration of the RAFAEL-supplied LITENING target acquisition/designation pod:
LITENING pod is an IAF request. The Rafale’s own pod is the DAMOCLES designation pod, but India has standardised its munitions on the basis of the Israeli RAFAEL (RafaEl, which is the name of a Judaic archangel, shouldn’t be mistaken for RafalE which means a Squall) supplied designation pod.
- Integration of the RAFAEL-supplied Spice-1000 standoff PGM and its related data-link pod:
This is again an Israeli product and it will have to be incorporated into the Rafale so as to enhance the utility of the platform. This isn’t a standard fitment of Rafale.
- Integration of the RAFAEL-supplied X-Guard towed-decoy and development of its on-board location cabinets: Towed decoys aren’t a standard fitment on Rafale, neither do the French have one. The other decoys in the market are American and BAE built. Of these, the Israeli are supposed to be the most cost-effective. Should Rafale have gone without it?
- Integration of the TARGO-2 HMDS supplied by Elbit Systems (also ordered by Qatar):
The helmet-mounted sight on Rafale has to be integrated to the mission computer as also the various sensor inputs, on top of which there is a significant upgrade involved to the HMD as well in making this compatible with the Meteor and Scalp missiles being acquired.
INTEGRATING OTHER INTERNATIONAL SYSTEMS
- Integration of MBDA-supplied Meteor BVRAAM and ALARM anti-radiation missile:
While the Meteor IS a native weapon for Rafale ALARM is a British product, arguable one of the best in this category. The French, however, don’t use it. They use Martel and ARMAT is under development, currently not available. While ARMAT would mean that there needn’t be a further modification. IAF has earlier decided on ALARM. What should the IAF have done? Standardise over a weapons package or carry a plethora of different weapons for the same use? Would that have been cost-effective?
- Installation of a THALES-supplied traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS);
- Installation of a THALES-supplied standby radar altimeter;
- Upgradation of the SPECTRA EW suite to accommodate low-band, medium-band and high-band directional jammer apertures;
- Addition of weather-mapping mode of operation in the THALES-supplied RBE-2 AESA-MMR;
ENHANCEMENTS TO EXISTING SYSTEMS
- Optimisation of the M88 turbofan’s jet-fuel starter for operating in sub-zero temperatures at altitudes above 9,000 feet Above Sea Level;
So that it can operate more effectively from advanced airfields such as Leh
- Increase in the capacity of the onboard OBOGS;
OnBoard Oxygen Generating System increases the operability of the system by allowing greater flight time without sacrificing payload.
INTEGRATING INDIAN SYSTEMS
- Development of quad-pack ejectors for the DRDO-engineered and Spice-250 PGM-derived SAAW EMP-generating standoff PGM;
- Assistance in flight-qualification of DRDO-developed 450kg laser-guided HSLD bomb and integration of the bomb’s FOG-based inertial navigation system with the Rafale’s on-board Sigma-95N RLG-INS through a MIL-STD-1553B interface;
- Modification of the Sigma-95N RLG-INS’ coupled GPS transceiver in order to receive MIL-STD PY-code coordinates from India’s NAVIC/IRNSS constellation of GPS satellites. This also involves the incorporation of an Israeli satellite receiver
Thus, none of the above are a part of general fitment of Rafale, whose intrinsic weapon systems details can be found here. It must be noted here that:
- These are customer-specific enhancements or modifications. All planes undergo such modifications and were Rafale to be selected via MMRCA, it too would have had to undergo the same as well. Leading to additional costs. Just that the talks never progressed to the point for these figures to be added.
- The above doesn’t include the additional modification and upgrade which is being done to the “Modular Data Processing Unit” (MDPU) or the mission computer of the Rafale.
- The above doesn’t include modifications for the carriage of nuclear weapons. These are not discussed in public. It can’t be that the commentators are unaware of this. Which brings to question what exactly is their motivation to generate such noise and for whom are they exactly playing?
- While no one can tell with any certainty what the exact cost of the enhancements should be, it is possible to get an estimate of the modifications. India has done modifications for Mig 29s, will be doing a modification for Su 30MKIs to Super Sukhoi standards and have recently done the modifications of Mirage 2000s.
Comparing modifications: Rafale & Mirage
The overall upgrade programme of the Mirage-2000s is pegged at nearly Rs 18,000 Crs in 2013. Thus each plane was being upgraded at a cost of nearly Rs 350 Crs. Given the fact that Rahul Gandhi and his acolytes have stated that a complete new Rafale would come at Rs 530 Crs, why did they spend nearly 70% of a new A/C’s cost on refurbishing a 20+-year-old aircraft? Or was the UPA also syphoning money through the French using the ‘modification’ route? Wasn’t the ‘upgrades’ as extensive as the Rafales?
At $50 million per aircraft, the price of modification of each Mirage is way higher than the price of modification for each Rafale.
Rafale and HAL
It’s well known that the MMRCA negotiations broke down as Dassault and HAL couldn’t reach any agreement. The IAF has officially confirmed that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was ‘ejected’ from the Rafale proceedings in 2016. The rift between Dassault and HAL that notoriously stalled the M-MRCA in its final leg on account of ‘irresolvable differences’ is known by most following the program. Moreover, Dassault refused to take responsibility for the time and cost responsibility of HAL without having any executive control over the project. Who would?
Coming to unit-prices of the 108
For the Rafales that were to be licence-assembled by the Bengaluru-based and MoD-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, or HAL (the workshare agreement between HAL and Dassault Aviation was signed on March 13, 2014), Dassault Aviation had estimated that each HAL-built Rafale will cost 2.7 times more (including Rs. 68 crores in labour costs alone per aircraft) than a Rafale delivered by Dassault Aviation. This is because not only would HAL have had to upgrade its in-house airframe fabrication and systems integration capabilities entirely through imported hardware and expertise, but the same also would have had to be undertaken by several of the private-sector and public-sector industrial entities that had been identified by HAL and Dassault Aviation as vendors. These would have included the following:
- Airframe Component Providers: fuel tanks and pylons (5 vendors), tooling hardware (12 vendors), mechanical parts and sub-assemblies (21 vendors)
- Turbofan Component Providers: mechanical parts, tubes and pipes (5 vendors)
- Avionics Components Providers: AESA-MMR sub-assemblies, cockpit displays (3 vendors), electronic boards (4 vendors), automated test-benches (5 vendors)
- Accessories Providers: cabinets (3 vendors), screws and rivets (1 vendor), tubes (1 vendor), wiring harnesses (5 vendors)
- Simulator Services Provider: 1 vendor
- Ground Support Equipment Supplier: 6 vendors
- Engineering, Software & Services: 13 vendors
- Data Conversion Service Provider: 2 vendors
- MRO Services Provider: 4 vendors
Relooking the costs after taking all factors into consideration:
What were the figures under consideration?
Nett cost of each of the 18 fully weaponized Rafale M-MRCA in flyaway condition as negotiated by the UPA-2 government was Rs.1,705 crore and that of each meant-to-be-licence-built Rafale was Rs. 4,603.5 crore, whereas the figure for each of the 36 flyaway Rafales now on order works out to Rs.1,646 crore.
How did the Rafale or MMRCA deal come about? And why was the order downgraded from 126 to 36?
Digging up the History of the deal
There are various stories which abound on this, but what is undeniable is the fact that the MMRCA originated with the Mirages.
The Mirages had given sterling performance in the Kargil conflict and thus was an IAF favourite. Considering that a whole family of aircraft, the Mig 21s/23s/27s were soon to be phased out, the airforce looked at replacing them with the Mirage 2000s. Thus, IAF was either seeking Mirage 2000 Vs OR was seeking to bring the whole Mirage assembly plant, as Dassault was phasing out Mirage production and such that the aircraft could be produced in India. However, given the propensity of raking of defence deals over coals, each defence minister is wary of getting into the single-vendor situation. Thus, the MMRCA was called in.
Now, it was then a convention, that all fighters would be double engined. Even the light fighters (with the exceptions of the F16s, Mirages and Gripen). The logic behind that is, given the rising cost of an aircraft with its subsystems, it can’t be left hostage to just one engine. Two engines meant halving the engine-related risks while adding range, thrust etc. Thus, towards replacing the Mig 21s/23s/27s both single-engined F16/Gripen and double engined solutions were looked at Mig 35/F18/EF2000/Rafale.
IAF rubbed its hand in glee, in having such a smorgasbord to choose from. The question as to whether budgets would be able to accommodate such a replacement was never factored in, nor the economics of purchase (which gives an idea of the decision-making matrix) and the focus was purely on technicalities.
The MMRCA Circus
Given the fact that a single-engined plane might cost around $4000 per flight hour to fly (for F16s/Gripen/Tejas) to $15,000 for the double engined (Su 30MKI, Rafales etc), there was no way that a whole complement of Rafales would be inducted to become the mainstay of the IAF without multiplying the current IAF budget. But then, if that was possible, it would be equally possible to put Rs 15 lacs in each person’s bank account. Reality, however, is a bugbear.
Could we have done without Rafales?
While the Su 30MKIs does answer the air dominance needs, filling in the gap for deep penetration strike and nuclear delivery platform is a specialised need and Rafales were ideally suitable for that purpose, beyond its Omni role. Thus, going in for 2 squadrons (one for each front) as the first tranche makes sense. As does getting the aircraft off the shelf as against manufacturing them for kits and multiplying the acquisition cost (cos then, one pays for the production of parts, the conveyance of parts, the assembly line, the production at home and its subsequent testing, without the whole thing translating into a growth of any technological base at home.
IF technical capability was being grown at home, after screwdriver manufacturing from Mig 21s to the Su 30MKIs, we would now be capable of producing our own range of aircrafts, wouldn’t we? Are we?
WHY DIDN’T INDIA GO FOR PRODUCTION OF RAFALE BY HAL?
1) Has any truly fourth-gen MRCA like Eurofighter EF-2000 or Rafale or even the F-15SD ever been licence-built anywhere in this world? No. Why? Because it is cost-prohibitive & unaffordable.
Take the example of Su 30MKI, the pride of IAF. Producing the same aircraft in India, by HAL, costs the Indian exchequer 250% of what it would have cost to buy it off-the-shelf from Russia. Why? Cos now there has to be a complete production facility which has to be set up over and above the cost of the aircraft. Moreover, ‘assembling’ an aircraft doesn’t naturally transfer an ability to build one’s own aircraft. India has built: Mig 21, Jaguars, Su 30 MKIs…yet, when it came to building Tejas, it had to start from scratch and had to face all the hiccups of a new enterprise.
2) No plane today is made by a single source. Instead, different parts are sourced from different OEMs. Like the ejection seat, the radar, the Electronic Warfare suit, the radome, the refuelling probe etc. Manufacturing in India would still entail importing the various sub components. Or, setting up factories for each, and that too for restricted numbers, which would, of course, scuttle any economy-of-scale and shoot up the costs.
3) Will ANY 4th-gen MRCA to be licence-built ever be subjected to the product warranty/liability obligations/coverage by their OEMs? Never. What very few folks know for a fact is that none of the aircraft licence-built in India by HAL to date have been covered by product performance guarantees of their OEMs, be they from France or the UK or USSR/Russia.
In case of the Rafale, while Dassault Aviation was totally agreeable to HAL licence-building the Rafales, it was refusing to issue product performance guarantees for such licence-built aircraft. And this was totally unacceptable to the IAF, which was not compromising on this issue & had wanted product performance guarantees for its Rafales.
Instead, it made sense to seek out specific technical inputs towards areas where we are lagging, like the Kaveri engine, and supplement our gaps, rather than bring in another wheel of re-invention.
Moreover, there was never going to be money enough to make Rafale a backbone fighter to replace Mig 21s/23s&27s. Not only would we be blocking up a huge outlay of the budget, but we also needed an aircraft which would operate @ $4000 per Hour. Here the toss-up between LCA & the Gripens/F16s come about. Again, there is no way we will be able to afford BOTH LCAs (be it Mk2) AND a Gripen or F16. Not to mention how wasteful it would be. IF, after evaluation, Tejas is found wanting, it will have to be killed if one goes for Gripen. However, locally manufacturing Gripen will bring about the same multiple of costs. The number of Rafales might go up though, but it will be as per theatre requirement and tranches.
Has India gotten a Bad deal?
Comparing with the MMRCA deal, beyond just cost per aircraft
Further details on this can be found here.Comparing with other countries (Egypt and Qatar)
- Qatar bought its 36 Rafales at $292 million per unit, with an extensive training maintenance and weapons package, but without offsets or workshare.
- Egypt bought their 24 Rafales for $246 million per unit
- India paid $243 million, with a less extensive package than Qatar, but with 50% offsets and significant India-specific modifications.
The difference between F3 and F3R.
One of the reasons that Congress and its apparatchiks don’t seem to get, or are feigning ignorance about, is the difference in the Rafale standards.
Rafale has been developed in tranches, each of the subsequent tranches has been more capable and advanced over the other. When Rafale was pitched to India for the M-MRCA, France had pitched the F3 version, as it was then the latest of its models. By the time NDA came into power, the latest variant was the F3R.
Comparing the F3 tranche and the F3R tranche is like comparing Mig 29 with Mig 35. Or the difference between Gripen C-D v/s Gripen E. What the F3R has over its previous versions are:
- The European Meteor long-range air-to-air missile produced by MBDA. This high-performance missile will achieve maximum effectiveness thanks to the “active array” radar which equips all production Rafale aircraft delivered since mid-2013. Now, the radar has to be ‘married’ to the missile so that it can provide mid-course guidance to it.
- The Thales PDL-NG new-generation laser designator pod. Primarily used for air-to-ground strikes, in daylight or darkness, this pod will further enhance the high degree of precision that the Rafale has achieved since its first engagements (in the Afghan theatre in 2007).
- The laser homing version of the Sagem AASM air-to-ground modular weapon. This family of weapons, with GPS primary guidance and an additional booster, is unmatched. It was used by the Rafale during 2011 operations in Libya to destroy targets at ranges of several tens of kilometres with metric precision. The laser homing version is particularly adapted to moving targets.
- F3R will also include upgrades to Rafale sensors and to systems ensuring total interoperability.
All of these functional and physical modifications reinforced Rafale’s omni-role character. During the same flight, the aircraft can carry out different types of missions, such as ground attack, air superiority and air defence; attack of land and naval targets; close air support of ground troops; reconnaissance and nuclear strike.
In total, more than one billion euros was invested in the upgrade programme, which will benefit all of France’s combat aviation industry.
By the time this present Govt came, F3R was well on its way to being realised. So what does the Govt do? Go for an older version when the latest was available? But if it brought in the latest version then it would have to go over the WHOLE M-MRCA rigamarole once more. Which meant a delay of another decade?
Thus, it scrapped the M-MRCA and decided to procure the plane in tranches. That would explain the number of 36 Crs. Remember, when Pappu is tom-tomming figures, they are:
– Non-finalised and assumed flyaway cost
– Even the touted cost is half a decade previous to when UPA left power
– UPA NEVER finalised any price for Rafale. Thus it can actually throw any fictional price it feels like.
Given the fact that India has got a much more potent a version than what was even envisaged by the IAF in MMRCA, WITH India specific modifications AND weapons, what exactly is the case which Pappu has?
The offset conundrum
The quantum of offsets in the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale fighter jets is 50 per cent, which includes investments in terms of Transfer of Technology (ToT) for manufacture and maintenance of eligible products and services. The current offsets policy of the Defence Procurement permits the vendors to provide details of their Indian Offset Partners (IOP) either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations. Vendor/Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) is free to select his Indian Offset Partner.It is in the offset clause that the deal finds its weakest link. Cos, while Mukesh Ambani’s company was fighting to corner the manufacturing deal with Dassault under the UPA, it was Anil Ambani’s company which got a slice of the offset. And it is in how it could have gotten a slice of the offset which raises the maximum number of questions. However, this needs a few clarifications:
- The offset value is NOT the 50,000 Crs, which some sources are claiming. The Reliance Dassault JV is only one of many companies offset partners and isn’t even the sole Joint venture. Other JVs related to the deal are Snecma HAL Aerospace Ltd (SHAe) for aero-engine components and Thales’s joint ventures with India’s SAMTEL for multifunction cockpit displays.
- Reliance Dassault is NOT producing anything for Rafale. So there makes no sense in comparing it with HAL. It is making parts for Dassault’s Falcon business jets, which India isn’t buying.
- Reliance Dassault will be vetted both by CAG as also France’s own auditors, were money to be leaked. However IAF isn’t purchasing any Falcon executive jets.
- If Anil Ambani’s company is questioned, so should Mukesh’s involvement in the previous discussion?
(For consideration, payback to companies who have contributed towards election fund would be return on Investment, not necessarily a roundabout siphon. Irrespective, it entails jobs being created. However, most foreign companies try and wheedle out of their offset clause. So do scrutinise the performance, but what logic is there to try and scuttle the deal? )
Transfer of Technology (T-o-T) for manufacture and maintenance of eligible products and services. The current offsets policy of the Defence Procurement permits the vendors to provide details of their Indian Offset Partners (IOP) either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations. Vendor/Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) is free to select his Indian Offset Partner.”The first slide, pertaining to airframe offsets and sourcing, lists the Dassault-Reliance joint venture firm (DRAL) as being part of a group of companies that will produce mechanical parts and sub-assemblies. Other companies in this list include Indian majors like L&T, the Mahindra Group, the Kalyani Group and Godrej & Boyce etc. The full details of the offset can be found here.
What brought about this Rafale offensive? Are the BJP any holier than Congress?
The essential reason, as I see it, to build the noise around Rafale is cos the Congress is taking a page out of BJP’s playbook. BJP had raised the same amount of smokescreen and noise wrt the VVIP Helicopter deal without any kind of substantial proof and raised equal amount of canards and innuendos. Not to mention go after Air Marshal Tyagi, when there was nothing to suggest any kind of wrong doing had happened. The money which AgustaWestland was for an internal issue which though improper had nothing to do with India’s helicopter purchase and, in fact, it was the ONLY helicopter which could serve India’s requirements. Thus, one can’t blame Congress for doing what BJP had done…only, in all these political shenanigans, it is the nation’s security which is held hostage and, admittedly, Rafale has a much deeper strategic implication than a few VVIP helicopters. Thus…we come to the essential questions:
- Can India’s defence procurements and Indian armed forces survive such circus?
- How does one hold political players to account for not only effectively cutting the nose to spite the Nation’s face, but, continuously pushing prices up by making decision making ineffective?
- What exactly is the motivation of all the players making noises?
All the brouhaha aside, aren’t we all glad, that the Squall (Rafale) has landed?
Note. The above were first published as FB posts by me in September 2018.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.