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India sign agreement with France to acquire 36 fighter jets

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India on Friday signed a 7.8 billion Euro deal with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets, which come equipped with cutting edge long-range missiles such as ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’. French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian arrived in New Delhi on Thursday night to ink the deal, along with the CEO of Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale jets, reported The India Times.
The deal was signed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Le Drian sixteen months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s
plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly away condition during his trip to France.
The deal comes with a saving of nearly 750 million Euros than the one struck during the previous UPA government, which was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government, besides a 50 per cent offset clause. The delivery of the combat aircraft will begin in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked.

The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF is its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km. Its integration on the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.

Pakistan at present has only a BVR with 80 km range. During the Kargil war, India had used a BVR of 50 km range while Pakistan had none. However, Pakistan later acquired 80-km-range BVR, but now with ‘Meteor’ the balance of power in the air space has again tilted in India’s favour.
‘Scalp’, a long-range air-to-ground cruise missile with a range in excess of 300 km also gives IAF an edge over its adversaries. Sources said the “vanilla price” of just the 36 aircraft is about 3.42 billion Euros. The armaments cost about 710 million Euros while Indian specific changes, including integration of Israeli helmet-mounted displays, will cost 1,700 million Euros. The rest of the cost includes spare parts and maintenance.

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