15 Sep 16. Rafale Deal to Be Signed on Sept 23, India to Pay Euro 7.87bn.
More than a decade after India decided to purchase a new line of fighter aircraft, it is now official. On September 23rd, India will sign a deal for 36 Rafale fighters with France for about 7.87bn Euros, sources have told NDTV.
Along with the 36 fighters, India will also get spares and weaponry, including the Meteor missile, considered among the most advanced in the world.
Of the 7.87bn Euros, about 50 per cent will be covered under offset, which means either France will reinvest this amount in India or source equipment of this value from India.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in India for the signing of the deal.
An Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and France allows for a follow on order of Rafale fighters with a 10 per cent cost escalation. The government claims that it has brought down the price by about 600m Euros from the initial demand.
The deal could not be signed this January when French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day because India wanted a better price.
Negotiations went on till 2 am on January 26, but an agreement on price could not be reached then. India and France agreed to sign a general agreement without naming the price.
For the Indian Air Force, the deal is bitter-sweet. On one hand, they will be getting two squadrons of the state-of-the-art fighter, on the other hand, the original requirement was for at least 126 jets.
India needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters and has an existing strength of 32. The fighter fleet will go down further by about 10 squadrons as the MiG-21 fighter will have to be decommissioned.
The new fighters will begin entering service in 2019. (Source: defence-aerospace.com) New Delhi TV)
15 Sep 16. The US is set to approve long-pending fighter jet sales to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait now that a landmark aid deal with Israel has gone through, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Wednesday.
“I’m glad they consummated [the aid deal], and I’m glad that the follow on is we’re completing sales to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “To act like there’s no connection — let’s face it, it’s like the hostages left when the money arrived.”
The question of whether the jet sales – requests from Qatar for 72 F-15E Strike Eagles and Kuwait for 28 F/A-18E/F – have been held up to maintain Israel’s legally-mandated qualitative military edge has been a longstanding one. Those two nations first requested those potential sales over two years ago.
It has been a delicate dance for Israel, with officials telling Defense News they had raised the issue with the White House but avoiding public comments in order not to be seen as obstructionist for a series of jets which could have huge economic impact for the US defense industry. (Boeing is banking on those sales help keep its St. Louis, Mo., production line going.) Bahrain is also reportedly in the market for up to 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons, made by Lockheed Martin.
On Thursday, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon came the closest to acknowledging that the jet sales to the gulf nations were tied into the MOU being signed.
“You know, Israel in certain cases has reservations about these arms deals,” Ya’alon said in response to a question from Defense News. “Those reservations should be coordinated with Israel in order to keep that qualitative military edge, and in this case, there were Israeli concerns.”
However, Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday that Israel did not discuss the jet sales with him when US lawmakers visited recently.
“I didn’t talk to them about this,” said Graham, R-S.C. “I’m okay with the sales; I think we need to empower our Arab allies. We call on them to do more. I don’t think it changes