We all have heard about the Rafale jet controversy, but not so much about the jet itself.We all have heard about the controversy regarding Rafale jets. But what are these jets? The fighter jets are developed by the French aviation company Dassault aviation. They are twin-engine, canard delta wing and multi-role fighter jets. To a simple man, these jets have two engines which are useful when one engine fails and they have much better fuel efficiency compared to single-engine jets. The jet allows faster speed and better pick up than single-engine jets. They also have canard delta wing, canard means the arrangement of the wings which mean that the brewing to the jet is placed forward to the main wing of a fixed-wing aircraft, this arrangement reduces the weight of the main wing loading, this allows much better control of the airflow to the main wing thus is easier to manoeuvre the jet at high angles; delta wing is the shape of the wing which is in the shape of a triangle. It is fighter jet is an aircraft designed specifically for air-air combat. Rafale has three variations the Rafale C single-seat land-based variation, Rafale B twin seat-based variation and the Rafale M single-seat carrier-based variation. The aircraft has the capacity of fire short-range and long-range missiles with high accuracy. The jet can carry 9 – 14 hardpoint which is its external weight. The Indian military has ordered 36 Rafale jets that were delivered today for 58,000 crores.
The jets are the newest edition to India’s air force. The Indian government made a contract in 2015 for 36 Rafale aircraft. The deal is worth 8 billion and was signed for purchase in September 2016. The aircraft was selected in the Indian MRCA competition for a contract to supply 126 multi-role fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force in 2011. The final contenders were the euro fighter typhoon and the Dassault Rafale. Dassault Rafale won and a contract was made to supply 126 combat aircraft. But due to delay in negotiations overproduction of Rafale jets in HAL India. Dassault would then review the two productions by the two companies. Dassault refused to take responsibility for the 108 jets manufactured by HAL. Later, after several reviews and contentions on July 2015, India withdrew the tender on the M-MRCA agreement. Then by a joint statement by French President Francois Hollande and Narendra Modi, it was announced that India will purchase 36 Rafale jets which would be delivered in flying conditions and the contract would add up to 8 billion dollars and 30 per cent of the deal’s value France would reinvest it in India’s defence sector.
The Rafale jets controversy was centred that the procurement process for the combat jets where there was price escalation and promoting private sectors over public sectors. The Indian government was also accused of price escalation. The manufacturing companies in the first contract was Hindustan Aeronautics Limited but in the final contract was obtained by Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited.
The INC spoke that the company chosen had no experience over HAL. A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Supreme Court was filed to probe the procurement deal of the Rafale deal. Later in September 2018, the PIL was accepted by the Supreme Court and in December 2018, the Supreme Court verdict was given that the government had done nothing wrong regarding the Rafale deal. It reviewed the procurement process and found that there were no flaws in the decisions making process, the pricing of the jets was fair and that there was no foul play in the selection of Indian partner. Thus the case was closed and 5 five French-built and combat-ready aircraft landed in Ambala on July 27, 2020.