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Rafale controversy: Decoded & simplified

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Udit Tripathi
News Junkie, budding writer and an honest Indian.

Adolf Hitler said “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”. It seems the ghost of infamous Bofors scandal still seems to haunt Congress that they tried to ‘manufacture scams’ following Hitler’s formula. Kargil Coffin Scam was one such manufactured scam during Vajpayee Era and now its the alleged Rafale scam. Much has been discussed but the common man is still confused about the deal, so let’s decode the current deal and see in what way is it different from the old one:

Offsets: Rafale’s offsets consist of about ₹30k cr of which 30% of offsets lie with DRDO (single largest beneficiary of Rafale’s offset). Safran, the manufacturer of Rafale’s M88 engine will help DRDO to revive the stalled Kaveri engine project that was to power the HAL Tejas initially. The rest 70%, i.e. ~₹21k cr is split among 3 manufacturers (with a total 72 offset partners):

1. 30%, i.e. ~₹ 6.3k cr with Thales (makes electronics, radars & countermeasures).
2. 40%, i.e. ~₹8.4k cr with Dassault (makes airframe & system integration).
3. 30%, i.e. ~₹6.3k cr with Safran (makes M88 engine & landing gear).

India Specific Enhancements: Unlike French Rafale, the Indian Rafale will consist of a Satellite Communication system, Helmet Mounted Display from Israel, along with a low band jammer, towed decoy system and higher resolution in the Front Sector Optronics. RBE2 AESA Radar is also added which wasn’t present during MMRCA contract in 2007. Also significant changes in the Modular Data Processing Unit (computer network airborne systems) of Rafale will be there as requested by the IAF.

Price: The price of 36 Rafale is ~€7.87Bn (~₹59k cr in 2016):
1. €3.3Bn for basic aircraft.
2. €1.7Bn for India Specific Enhancements.
3. Maintenance: €1.8Bn for spare parts and engines, €350 million for performance based logistics (for 75% flying serviceability).
4. €700 million for weapon suit.

Also as stated by the CAG, the current deal is 2.86% cheaper than the unfinished deal under UPA, keeping in mind the % escalation factor per year which is fixed to 1.1 as compared to 3.9 under UPA.

Add-Ons: While the UPA deal was for basic aircraft, the current one consists of:

1. 5 yr maintenance pact & pilot training project.
2. India specific enhancements.
3. Weapon suit, which includes combination of deadly MICA, SCALPE & METEOR missiles along with other weapons for short and long ranges.
4. RBE2 AESA radar.

So, its high time that Rahul Gandhi and friends understand, merely chanting ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ despite SC and CAG verdicts won’t make it a scam. Now the public is better aware than ever.

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Udit Tripathi
News Junkie, budding writer and an honest Indian.
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