<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s final. India and France on Friday signed the much-awaited Rafale fighter jet deal to buy 36 of them in fly-away condition at a cost of Rs58,000 crore. 15 percent of which will be paid in advance.The aircraft will be delivered to IAF within next 36 to 67 months.The deal for the twin-engine fighters signed in the presence of India’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting French counterpart here Jean Yves LeDrian has come about after 17 months of intense price negotiations and the final price was agreed at 4.2 billion euros lesser than the original price quoted by France (12 Billion).India also managed to get the aircraft customised with 14 Indian Air Force (IAF) specifications including Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Meteor that Rafale jets will come fitted with. Besides, the weapons package also includes advanced precision guided air-to-ground long range weapons.As part of the offset obligations, France will invest a total of 50 per cent of the Rs58,000 crore. While 20 percent of it will go into local Rafale component production and the rest into the research for military aeronautics.The deal also entails advanced training of three IAF pilots, one engineer and six technicians by the French air force.In January, 2012 the Manmohan Singh government had decided to buy 18 such aircrafts in “fly-away” condition, and 108 were to be made operational by state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) through the transfer of technology clause.However, Prime Minister Modi, during his France visit lin April, 2015, announced buying 36 of them in fly-away condition by scrapping that tender and invoking “Critical Operational Necessity” of the IAF.Other bidders who lost to Rafale in 2012 were the American F/A-18 and F-16, Russian MiG 35, European Eurofighter and Swedish Saab Gripen.Rafales will provide a much needed succour to IAF whose squadron strength is at 34 currently as against the sanctioned strength of 42. IAF’s front line fighters, the Russian Sukhoi 30’s serviceability is around 55 percent only and vice chief BS Dhanoa in March last said IAF is not ready for a two-front war with China and Pakistan together.Customised aircraftIndia managed to get the aircraft customised with 14 Indian Air Force (IAF) specifications including Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile Meteor that Rafale jets will come fitted with. Besides, the weapons package also includes advanced precision guided air-to-ground long range weapons.As part of the offset obligations, France will invest a total of 50 per cent of the Rs58,000 crore. While 20 percent of it will go into local Rafale component production and the rest into the research for military aeronautics.

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India seals the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighters for Rs 58,000 crore from France