Rafale fighter jets en.rfi.fr
Defence minister Manohar Parikkar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian will sign the deal on September 23.
The Rafale deal is crucial for Indian Air Force which is witnessing a rapid drawdown in its combat squadrons. To combat China and Pakistan, the IAF needs 45 combat units. And as of now the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons, each consisting of 18 fighter planes. The IAF is low on number of warplanes for a two-front war.
According to Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, the draw down in IAF combat squadrons will continue unabated, as the entire fleet of upgraded and non-upgraded MiG-21s and MiG-27s are to be retired by 2022.
He has clarified that while the Su-30 MKI would complement the Rafale, it was not an alternative to the Rafale due to the difference in roles and capabilities for the two fighters.
Meteor missile is a Beyond Visual Range missile and provides a no-escape zone three times greater than that of a conventionally powered missile. Meteor is also five times as lethal in comparison to the American AMRAAM missile. The Rafales will also be fitted with MICA missiles, an Air to Land precision missile of more than 300 km range.
The French had made an opening offer of Euro 12 billion in May last year and it has come down to Euro 8.6 billion on January 26. And it was in May this year, sources said, that the two sides finally agreed at a price of Euro 7.878 bn.