India plans first Rafale squadron by 2015-16

Issue No. 6 | March 16-31, 2012

The first squadron of medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) consisting of 18 aircraft is expected to be inducted into the IAF within three to four years of signing of the contract with its supplier.

In reply to a question on delivery of MMRCA, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told Lok Sabha: “First squadron of MMRCA consisting of 18 aircraft is expected to be inducted within three to four years of signing of contract.”

“The remaining 108 aircraft will be manufactured under licence by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and are expected to be inducted over the following seven years,” he added.

The request for proposal (RFP) for procurement of MMRCA was issued to six manufacturers of fighter aircraft. Of the six proposals received in response, proposal of Dassault Aviation for Rafale and EADS Germany for Eurofighter Typhoon were found compliant to the technical requirements in field evaluation trials.

“The Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) which is currently in progress found the proposal of Dassault Aviation as the lowest in terms of cost. Final decision will be taken after the CNC submits its recommendations,” Antony told the House.

He also said the IAF is in the process of inducting additional Su-30MKI aircraft, light combat aircraft (LCA), medium lift helicopters, advanced light helicopters as well as C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft to augment its combat aircraft, helicopter and transport aircraft fleet.