Mark Collins – “Absurd”: Continuing India/France Rafale Fighter Buy Balls-Up

Further to this post from September 2015,

India’s Shrinking Fighter Force/Procurements Balls-Ups

the saga flies (not yet) on, surely worthy of a Canadian procurement–at Aviation Week and Space Technology:

Can France, India Work Out Fighter Deal?
India’s plans to buy Rafales stall again over price

The Indian air force will not be receiving new Rafale fighter jets anytime soon. Despite a unique intergovernmental agreement signed by India and France in January committing to conclude a deal for 36 fully fitted Rafale jets [more here], negotiations remain stuck on the value of the order. This is a stunning situation, bordering on the absurd. Price was precisely what bedeviled the possibility of an agreement for 126 fighters in India’s notoriously long but finally aborted Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) contest.

“The fact that price has once again emerged as the stumbling block despite a rare political intervention by the political leadership of both countries to save some part of the deal is nothing short of exasperating,” says a senior Indian air force officer with the defense ministry acquisitions wing. “The [air force] has been effectively out of the driver’s seat ever since its selection of the Rafale four years ago.”..

The…perhaps inevitable twist is that past contenders in the M-MRCA competition have begun renewing proposals to manufacture their aircraft in India under the auspices of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-profile “Make in India” program, a campaign designed to showcase India as a manufacturing hub. Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Sweden’s Saab have both offered to set up production lines to build the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Gripen-NG, respectively, in India. Companies that had hoped the collapse of the M-MRCA effort would result in a reboot of that contest now see the “Make in India” campaign as their only resort in what appeared to be competition shut off by political leadership [see also: “Not That Easy: PM Modi Tries to Motivate Indian Defence Industry“]…

Then there’s the Russia/India stealth fighter cooperation effort:

India, Russia revive talks for fighter jet

Tomorrow is a long time:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a  Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he  tweets @Mark3Ds

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