Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Apparently India can't decide whether to shit or get off the pot when it comes to aircraft purchases

India has a long history of buying Russian (or Soviet) aircraft. In recent years, though, they have been all over the map. India's military has Russian (or Soviet), French, American, British, Brazilian, Indian, Canadian and Swiss aircraft, ranging from trainers to airborne tankers to transports to fighters.

In recent years, the country has been looking for bids for its  Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft, and effort to upgrade (through replacement) some of India's aging aircraft, primarily MiG-21s. That effort has been abandoned, but India has been negotiating with France to buy 36 Rafale fighters. Those talks apparently are not going well:
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, 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.
It would appear that India and France agreed that India would buy 36 of France's fifth-generation Rafale fighters (if you believe France -- they likely are no better than 4.5-generation, like the FA-18 Super Hornet) but failed to agree on the price. India now wants to pay a lot less than France wants to charge. It might be a commentary on how much India wants to spend on its military, but it also might be a commentary on how close other countries are to having truly fifth-generation fighters for sale. It looks a lot like the U.S. might be the only nation currently offering such a product, which bodes well for the future of the F-35. We'll see.

No comments: