Ipcs india and the rafale abhijit mitra-iyer


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Ipcs india and the rafale abhijit mitra-iyer

  1. 1. IPCS Special Report April 2012 126India and the RafaleAnatomy of a Bad Deal Abhijit Iyer-Mitra Nuclear Security Programme Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies B-7/3, Safdarjung Enclave New Delhi 110029 91-11-4100 1900 www.ipcs.org
  2. 2. India and the Rafale About the Author© 2012, Institute of Peace andConflict Studies (IPCS)The Institute of Peace and ConflictStudies is not responsible for the facts,views or opinion expressed by theauthor.The Institute of Peace and Conflict Abhijit Iyer-MitraStudies (IPCS), established in August1996, is an independent think tankdevoted to research on peace and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra is a Research Officer at the Institutesecurity from a South Asian of Peace & Conflict Studies. After his B.Com from theperspective. University of Madras he pursued a career in the cor- porate world before turning to academia.Its aim is to develop a comprehensiveand alternative framework for peace He holds a Masters Degree in International Relationsand security in the region catering to from the School of Political & Social Inquiry atthe changing demands of national, Monash University, and is pursuing his PhD. Heregional and global security. served as research assistant on projects ranging fromAddress: state failure to "Aid in The War Zone" all under theB 7/3 Lower Ground Floor aegis of the Centre For Muslim Minorities & IslamSafdarjung Enclave Policy Studies at Monash (2007-2010).New Delhi 110029INDIA His primary research at IPCS is into limited wars and nuclear thresholds but his interests include counter-Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, intuitive solutions, assymetricity and equivalence,4165 2557, military transformation, defence planning, procure-4165 2558, 4165 2559 ment and offsets, infrastructure, governance and His- torical Patterns of Conflict in Democracy. His spareFax: (91-11) 4165 2560 time is spent travelling and he holds a dive master’sEmail: officemail@ipcs.org licence as well as a private pilot’s licence.Web: www.ipcs.org
  3. 3. IPCS Special Report 126, April 2012 India and the Rafale Anatomy of a Bad Deal Abhijit Iyer-MitraThe Rafale it would seem has won the MMRCA hides the malfeasant structuring of this entiredeal in a competition described as “transparent contest, where a requirement that had beenand fair” in keeping with Defence Minister A K made redundant was restructured to favour aAntony’s “squeaky clean” image. Closer scrutiny lower performance fighter but include costs farwill however show that far from being greater than what was initially envisaged ortransparent and fair, this deal was rigged from planned. In essence therefore the winner wasthe start - conceptually and procedurally to decided here – a requirement framed to procurefavour a higher cost lower performing plane. a low performance platform at high performanceDuring the competition the goal posts were prices.shifted and deadlines ignored specifically tofavour one competitor and in many ways the Ishoddy press coverage of these is testament to EXPLORING THE MMRCAthe ossified state of India’s defence reportage,and the complete lack of investigative ethos. The basis of any modern arms procurement contest is the quality-quantity matrix which isThis contest started off as a requirement for a decided on several key performance features -light cheap fighter to replace the ageing MiG 21s manoeuvrability, life cycle costs, operating costs,till the Tejas came on board essentially the same power, range, weapons load, ruggedisation,as the Swiss requirement (which settled on the electronic sophistication, survivability in additionGripen). Early on it became clear that only three to the political advantages and the transfer offighters fulfilled that role - the elderly Mirage absorbable technology. To be sure range and2000 with some upgrades, the Gripen which was weapons load did and could not enter thisa full generation ahead, and the vastly improved equation given that the basic requirementsF-16E fitted with an AESA radar and significant remained those of a light fighter replacement. Ifimprovements in power and range. At any rate manoeuvrability was key then the only planethe induction of upgraded MiG 21s by the early with thrust vectoring and thus presumably2000s (albeit delayed) meant that the initial superior manoeuvrability was the MiG-35. If liferequirement became superfluous. Possibly cycle costs, ruggedisation and operating costssensing this Dassault withdrew the Mirage 2000 were the key then the Gripen was king.and introduced the Rafale as their sole offering. Should one have taken systems maturity as aIt was around this time that what had up to then sign of electronic superiority then the F-18 hadbeen the MRCA (multi-role combat aircraft no equal, with the Eurofighter a very closecompetition) morphed into the MMRCA second – lacking only the active radar. In terms(Medium multi-role combat aircraft) of range, power, survivability and transfer ofrequirement with the initial cost consideration technology the Eurofighter was well ahead of theremaining but the MTOW (maximum take of pack. The only thing the Rafale excelled at was itsweight) limit of 20 tons being removed. The 9 ton weapons load being nowhere near aaddition of the term “medium” here however
  4. 4. India and the Rafalerunner up in any of the other categories except is simple physics that the Sukhoi which is muchpossibly ruggedisation due to its navalisation. better powered can do a much better job of fighting its way through air defences andTellingly reports in 2009 indicated that the Rafale delivering its 8 ton load deep into China, than awas the first plane to be eliminated from the woefully underpowered Rafale carrying one toncontest. After a whole week of silence the Air more, essentially little more than a bomb truckForce “confirmed” that this was not the case and unable to manoeuvre because of itsthere was merely some “missing information” in underperforming engines.Dassault’s bid. This basically allowed Dassault to“resubmit” information, begging the question - Worse still the Rafale is designed to fight at theare deadlines actually deadlines? Should same height as the Sukhoi, but is expected to doEurofighter now want, it possibly has a legal this being underpowered and electronicallyprecedent to “re-submit” some “missing inferior in most respects given that the Sukhoiinformation”. This story either due to journalistic can transfer its power to the Israeli electroniclethargy or duress was never fully covered or warfare systems installed in addition to havinginvestigated by the media despite ample one of the biggest radar apertures in the market.evidence of direct interference at the head of Ultimately while the Rafale has been describedgovernment level at which point the Rafale’s as a Eurofighter “Minus”, in the Indian context it“reinstatement” was glossed over as a second is in fact a Sukhoi minus having negligiblechance to submit “missing information” benefits in terms of superior western technology given that such Israeli produced system alreadyThe first round of eliminations then confirmed arm the Sukhoi.that procurement costs, operational costs, lifecycle costs, were not important given that the F- Most indicative of this are the two competitions16 and Gripen were eliminated. Electronic where the Rafale lost to the F-15E – the west’ssuperiority seemed confused since a plane as Sukhoi analogue in Singapore and Korea, both ofadvanced as the F-18 was rejected but so was which serve the long range and long leg deepthe electronically sub-standard MiG-35, the penetration requirement. This then begs theformer on the basis of a lack of manoeuvrability, question who exactly is the Rafale procurementthe latter in spite of its supermanoeuvrability. directed against? If it is against Pakistan then it isOperational sovereignty was obviously high on wasteful overkill in economic terms, while beingthe agenda given the mass elimination of dangerous underkill in electronic terms. TheAmerican made or American powered planes as Sukhoi fleet alone will outnumber the Pakistanwell as Russian planes given their abysmal air force in the near future and in electronicrecords, the former political, the latter logistical. terms the Rafale is simply not a match for the tried and tested F-16 Block 50. If it is againstThe final choice then was for a “jack of all trades” China then the Rafale is a death trap havingbut the two choices were poles apart. While the neither the legs nor power to compete withEurofighter was almost consistently top of every China’s higher end fighters like the J-10, J-11 andcategory – truly a “jack of all trades”, the Rafale J-20. Its radar aperture is the lowest of anywas near the bottom of every category – serving fighter and is simply not electronicallyessentially the “dunce of all trades”. In terms of well equipped enough to compensate for this onelectronic sophistication, optronics, future the quality end of the matrix. Worst of all itsgrowth, survivability, and power it stood far “high end” price means that it fails miserably inbehind the pack with its only advantages being the quantity stakes compounding its abjectits 9 ton weapons load and navalisation. failure in the quality part of the quantity-quality matrix.Capacity DuplicationShould the Rafale carry its advertised maximum Ultimately the Rafale is a plane designed not for9 ton weapons load, its range and a first day of war scenario but rather one wheremanoeuvrability drop significantly. Ultimately it other superior alliance fighters have already
  5. 5. IPCS Special Report 126, February 2012gained uncontested air superiority. While it is and planned Russian or Chinese fighters.definitely an expeditionary fighter, its design is Moreover the EJ-200 engine of the Eurofighterbest suited to intervene in Tinpot Little African has had thrust vectoring incorporated into inDictatorships (TLADs) also known as the recent tests in Spain further extending its crossFrancafrique. Any intervention against the vastly altitude manoeuvrability into the realm ofbetter equipped and trained air forces of the supermanoeuvrability – traditionally the reserveIndian Ocean rim would be foolhardy in the of high end Russian and US fighters. No suchextreme, especially if India decides to pursue its modification is being considered for the Rafale.“independent foreign policy”. It must be noted Height as it can be appreciated is a critical warthat the Saudi’s and Emiratis have in past happily winner in any form of combat air, land or sea.lent military equipment to Pakistan duringprevious conflicts, and their air forces are The Eurofighter is a full 1 tonne lighter than themanned largely by Pakistani pilots. Should Rafale but its engines are significantly morehostilities ensue one must remember that the powerful in both dry and wet thrust. This meansSaudi’s have both the F-15SE and the Eurofighter not only can the Eurofighter carry much morewhile the Emiratis have the F-16E all significantly fuel but it can also transfer much more power tomore mature designs with vastly larger radars an on board electronics for electronic warfare andvastly superior detection and weapons ranges. ISTAR missions a mission that in this day and age is considered more important than traditionalUltimately this alone shows up the abject combat having been vindicated by totallyfoolishness of deciding this contest based on cost lopsided victory ratios in every war sincesince every single 4+ generation fighter in the Vietnam. Also it adds significantly to theregion will be superior and the only countries Eurofighter’s manoeuvrability advantagethis plane will be useful for intimidating are producing a much more agile aircraft capable ofmilitarily vastly inferior anyway. evading anti-aircraft missiles.Typhoon Vs Rafale The one current advantage that the Rafale has isThree fighters in this competition had essentially its AESA radar, as opposed to the Eurofighter’sthe same delta canard layout - the Gripen, radar which is yet to be integrated, and this is aEurofighter Typhoon and Rafale. They were point that Dassault have been stressing. Thisconsidered equal at least in terms of kinematic however is only half the story. The radarability. Kinematic ability combines both aperture being the smallest of any new plane,manoeuvrability born of design choices as well as the array is simply not big enough to outrange/the thrust provided by the engines. These design outdetect other AESA’s when they come online.choices dictated that all things being equal the Given that the J-10, J-11 and J-20 haveGripen and Eurofighter having significantly larger significantly bigger radomes, and China’s firstcanards would be more manoeuvrable than the generation of AESA’s are already testing out,Rafale. Additionally the Eurofighter has variable Dassault claims of a Rafale advantage are veryintakes that can regulate the volume of air short term at best or illusory at worst. China’sentering the engines enabling the design bigger radars will invariably mated to the SD-10manoeuvrability to be more or less similar at already the longest range (reportedly) BVRAAMboth high and low speeds and high and low in the market presumably also for sale toaltitudes, while the Rafale having no such device Pakistan. It bears note here that the JF-17 that(or the provision for such device in the future) Pakistan is buying in large numbers also has asuffers at both very low altitudes and at higher larger radome than the Rafale, and is activelyaltitudes thus being forced to fight at altitudes negotiating with Selex for a western AESA forwhere it is kinematically completely outclassed their JF-17. Given that Selex is as mature asby Russian and Chinese fighters. This also reflects Thales in AESA technology, radar aperture will bein the Eurofighter’s service ceiling of variously 64 critical in any showdown. To be noted here isto 70 thousand feet – a full 10 to 16 thousand that the Eurofighter has one of the largest radarfeet higher than either Rafale or other serving apertures on the market east or west. Moreover
  6. 6. India and the RafaleThe Indian Civil Nuclear Programme: Issues, Concerns, Opportunitiesthe French fighter is mated to the MICABVRAAM, which the IAF has in a monumentally The Eurofighter is a full 1 tonne lighterflawed decision gone in for; given that Pakistan’sacquisition of the AMRAAM and the SD-10 than the Rafale but its engines are sig-outrange this missile by a factor of 50 to 100 %. nificantly more powerful in both dryYes the Rafale can be mated to the much longer and wet thrust. This means not onlyrange meteor with the RBE-2 AESA, but theextraordinarily small radar aperture will mean can the Eurofighter carry much morethat the Rafale will be hunting clueless in the air fuel but it can also transfer much moreand will not be able to fully exploit the meteor’s power to on board electronics for elec-range, being permanently defensive not having tronic warfare.the ability to get off the first shot.Electronic warfare is yet another issue. The been having severe problems with. This wasTyphoon has significantly greater reserves of acknowledged when EADS was asked to provideonboard electrical generation capacity to provide the Eurofighter’s system, for the F-35’s testbedfor jamming and other ISTAR roles which is platform recently.perhaps the most important element of modernair combat. Given that neither the Eurofighter Other issues pertaining to survivability includenor the Rafale are stealth this role assumes the increasing prevalence of optical detectionsignificant importance since at some point during and the subsequent need for a reduced heathostilities they will have to resort to brute force signature. While the Eurofighter provides highjamming. The Eurofighter can do this quite supercruise (the ability to go supersonic withoutadmirably while the Rafale’s ability to do this is having to engage the heat intensivehighly suspect. In may ways the Rafale brochure afterburners) the Rafale neither has nor planssay it all and is a masterpiece of spin. It touts the this capability. Moreover the Rafale beingabilities of a “passive” radar and the passive chronically underpowered put the IAF’s pilots atSPECTRA self protection system. In this particular significant risk against top notch adversarial aircase it is just another way of saying that the forces. Signature Management – another aspectRafale simply does not have any onboard power of stealth is another serious issue. While most ofto radiate the large quantities of energy required the Eurofighter is made up of composites, thefor jamming the latest generation of Russian and Rafale in addition to having a fundamentally un-Chinese AD systems and radars. Thus the stealthy curvaceous layout is alsoinstallation of an AESA on the Rafale to begin overwhelmingly metal, making it much morewith is limited by its size and is significantly visible to radars. According to some estimatescompounded by inadequate energy transfer. the Rafale may appear 4 times bigger on theThe Eurofighter on the other hand encompasses radar compared to the Eurofighter. While botha much broader spectrum of self defence fighters lose their masking abilities if fully loadedincluding passive signature management and up with external munitions, the Eurofighter atactive defences including the Defensive Aids Sub least has the ability to carry 4 semi-conformalSystem (DASS) in keeping with its admirable BVRAAMs i.e. a well armed air defence orpower generation. interception patrol, which is reasonably invisible.Exactly how advanced the Eurofighter’s In many ways while the Rafale is a Sukhoi minuselectronics are can be gauged from the recent US at almost twice its price, the Eurofighterdecision to get BAE to modify the Eurofighter’s becomes a synergistic ally of the Sukhoi. It hasHelmet Mounted Display system to overcoming considerable range so as to escort the Sukhois,teething problems in the F-35. The Eurofighter’s its electronic package provides significant cover –cockpit enables the pilot to see through much of that is to say western electronic superioritythe floor and body of the aircraft as if the aircraft combined with the sheer “grunt” of Russiannever existed – something even the f-35 has designs, it’s missiles outrange all current or
  7. 7. IPCS Special Report 114, February 2012 IPCS Special Report 126, April 2012planned eastern missiles, and it has the ability to reveals that it has a very high US content (uptofight over 50,000 feet, well beyond both the 40%). This must be contrasted with theSukhoi’s or Rafale’s capabilities. It supplements, Eurofighter which is a multinational all Europeancomplements and extends the Indian Air Force effort. To be considered is that such acapabilities across range, altitude and electronics multinational approach enables far greaterproviding full spectrum superiority. flexibility in the purchase and development of compatible weapons systems as opposed toSurvivability can be viewed as a complex being held hostage in a single vendor situation,interplay of both invisibility and invincibility. as has been the case with the Mirage-2000,While the Eurofighter true to its “Multi Role” whose upgrade India has to spend more on thanmission has built in redundancies that carefully buying a brand new and infinitely more capablecalibrate this matrix, The Rafale’s “Omni-Role” Su-30.tag only ensures it fails miserably at everything.The Eurofighter is a multi-disciplinary winner, the Similarly this upgrade has foisted India with theRafale a multi-disciplinary loser. The most MICA in an addition USD 1 Billion deal for thetrenchant criticism of the Rafale’s abilities have most underperforming, under-ranged BVRAAMcome from the report of the French National in the market. What is curious is both these dealsAssembly itself, deeming large sections of its seem to have completely escaped press scrutiny.electronics and construction “obsolescent” Similarly the Scorpène has saddled us with theespecially its radar, optical and electronic Exocet missile which is again one the most undersystems. Similarly the WikiLeaks cables reveal -ranged anti ship missiles on the market, whilethat the King of Bahrain candidly admitted in the far more capable supersonic Brahmosprivate that the Rafale was yesterday’s (ostensibly “indigenous”) will not be integratedtechnology on these boats. II The important thing here is that the Eurofighter TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, POLITICAL being a pan-European venture also allows India ADVANTAGES, OPPOSITION RESEARCH to make far more European governmentsBoth the American fighters and the Gripen “beholden” to us noticeably locking Selex out of(which has an American engine) were eliminated the Pakistani radar market and thereby chokingsince they did not guarantee “operational their last access route to western qualitativesovereignty” (meaning that America is seen as an superiority. The Rafale deal on the other handunreliable sanction prone supplier). It is gives every other European company outside ofsurprising then that the Rafale was chosen. France the green light to go ahead and armWhile touted and sold as an all French effort, the Pakistan with whatever they choose. It isWikiLeaks cables from the US embassy in Brasilia therefore astounding that when a plane like the(where the Rafale is fighting against the F-18E) Rafale fails spectacularly on both operational sovereignty and transfer of technology, not to mention the dubious political advantages; it hasIn many ways while the Rafale is a Suk- been chosen as the winner.hoi minus at almost twice its price, the Going in for such big ticket items also mandatesEurofighter becomes a synergistic ally careful opposition research – studying theof the Sukhoi. It has considerable suppliers, their negotiating tactics and pricing tactics from previous victories and defeats. Onerange so as to escort the Sukhois, its thing that stands out from this decision is thatelectronic package provides significant India continues its spectacular failure to learncover – that is to say western elec- from the mistakes of others. Dassault is by alltronic superiority combined with the accounts extremely “arrogant” (as described by the UAE) given how substandard its productsheer “grunt” of Russian designs. actually is. It was this exact arrogance that
  8. 8. India and the Rafaleprompted Kuwait to shelve its Rafale-lust andhas lost Dassault its exclusive vendor status withthe UAE, and its “captive” Moroccan market. The Eurofighter being a pan-EuropeanMoreover Dassault is notorious for massively venture also allows India to make fardiscounting its prices after it loses competitions. more European governmentsAs recently as January Dassault after losing theSwiss fighter contract (to the Gripen) it “beholden” to us noticeably locking Se-discounted a full 25% of its initial price – over 1 lex out of the Pakistani radar marketbillion euro’s, prompting the Swiss to ask what and thereby choking their last accesshad changed? The reality is that even if the price route to western qualitative superior-difference between the Eurofighter and Rafalewas marginal it is still too costly, and the mere ity.illusion of having eliminated the Rafale wouldhave invariable brought about a massivedownwards revision of price. That such smart Fighter pricing is a notoriously difficult figure tonegotiating tactics were not followed speaks calculate based on open sources given thevolumes of the competence of the negotiating secrecy (and hence commercial viability)team and selection panel. It is of course equally surrounding the subject. A 2006 report bygermane that French “final offers” never really Defense-Aerospace titled “Sticker Shock:are “final offers” as the Swiss fighter deal Estimating the Real Cost of Modern Fighter”discount and Indian Scorpène deal price perhaps has the best baseline calculationescalation makes clear. available from open sources. This innovative report relies on statements to parliament, III factors inflation and derives a base price linked THE CURIOUS CASE OF COST to the price of MacDonald’s Big Mac burger, while indexing and adjusting against the prices of luxuries like caviar and gold. Sources: See References, All costs and units from categories C (Official Reports) and D (Industry Reports) and all conversions accessing the historical conversions database in cate- gory B (Historic Conversion Rates)
  9. 9. IPCS Special Report 126, April 2012 million from the 308 million leaves one with aThe real surprise here is that the Rafale in terms non productive cost of 246 million a plane – i.e.of unit cost (62.1 million dollars in 2006 prices) the plane costs nearly 4 times the price of thewas the cheapest fighter on the market (cheaper actual hardware involved. Multiply this by thestill than the much lighter single engine Gripen 180 airframes produced till 2009 the total noneven). To put this price in context India finalised productive costs factor in at 44.280 billion USD.another deal with Dassault for the upgrade of 49 Amortising this over the planned FrenchMirage 2000s for a total price of about 3.32 production run of 294 airframes, this cost standsbillion dollars averaging 68 million dollars per at 151 million USD per plane. Added to the 2006airframe – i.e the mere cost of upgrading the unit production cost this works out to 213 millionsingle engine mirage is more than the production USD per plane.costs of a brand new Rafale. Contrast this with the Eurofighter. The 2011This speaks loads of the quality of equipment British National Audit Office report titledand the non-existent “advancements” that the “Management of the Typhoon Project” sets theRafale supposedly represents. If any further total cost of the Eurofighter programme over theproof was needed as to why the Rafale has failed 160 airframes at 20.2 billion GBP or 32.32 billionevery single competition and been described by USD at 2011 conversion rates. This works out tono less than a head of state as “yesterday’s 202 million dollars per plane largely as a result oftechnology” one need look no further. the British Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) decision to slash the buy by 72 airframes downHowever in the 2009 French parliamentary from the 232 initially planned. Since thenreport on defence finances the total cost of the however Saudi Arabia has purchased 72Rafale programme spread over the 180 airframes airframes of the British configuration.produced so far comes to 39.6 billion Euros(55.44 billion USD at the 2009 annual average The non productive costs of this plane arrived atconversion rate of 1.4) – a whopping 308 million by subtracting the 2006 base price of the Britishdollars per plane. This makes the Rafale – going version – 118.6 million USD per plane from theby French official documents the single most 202 million total come to 83.4 million.expensive plane on earth – just 20 million short Multiplying this by the 160 planes comes to aof the F-22. Needless to say inflation factored in total of 13.5 billion dollars. Now amortising thisthe 2012 prices will be significantly higher. cost over the confirmed procurement of 232Simply taking the non procurement costs of the (including British and Saudi) airframes works outRafale thus far provides further reason for worry. 57.51 million per plane, which when added toSubtracting the unit procurement cost of 62 the 2006 base price makes the per unit cost of the Eurofighter 176.11 million EUR – a full 40The 2011 British National Audit Office million dollars cheaper than the Rafale, a vastly inferior product – perhaps the most inferiorreport titled “Management of the Ty- product of the entire MMRCA contest.phoon Project” sets the total cost ofthe Eurofighter programme over the IV CONCLUSION160 airframes at 20.2 billion GBP or32.32 billion USD at 2011 conversion There is some reason that the Rafale has lostrates. This works out to 202 million every single competition or tender it has takendollars per plane largely as a result of part in being beaten sometimes by planes like the F-15 or F-16 which are a full generationthe British Ministry of Defence’s older. Surprising is the lack of investigation into(MoD’s) decision to slash the buy by 72 the Rafale’s preliminary stage elimination, andairframes down from the 232 initially curious is the silence on Sarkozy’s direct politicalplanned. interference. Brazil almost signed the dotted line
  10. 10. India and the Rafaleto purchase the Rafale but has put off the entirecompetition and has asked for a full re-inspection of the selection process going so far There are several issues with the entireas to sack their defence minister Nelson Jobim procurement process that cast a very(for a variety of reasons of which the Rafale negative light. First given that cost,procurement featured prominently). technology transfer, kinematic abilityThe refocused quality-quantity matrix seems to and operational sovereignty deter-have skewed this competition towards a high mined the initial elimination round,quality fighter with attendant costs but in the these very problems have been ne-end has settled on the lowest of the high qualityfighters that can fulfil neither the quantity nor gated in the second round by basing itquality requirements of the matrix. In prioritising on cost.cost as the final selection criteria the selectionseems to have completely ignored thedisproportionately higher performance and political reinstatement prove true then farcompetence of the Eurofighter not to mention greater questions of criminal malfeasance entersignificantly better offsets and transfer of the picture (either under duress or monetarytechnology for a marginal price difference. In incentivisation). The fact that Dassault’s chiefeffect while India may spend less overall its negotiator for the 1982 Mirage 2000 deal is on“bang for buck” or the competence and record claiming electronic snooping on classifiedadvantages gained per Rupee spent are abysmal. Indian communications seems to have been ignored completely in this country, and raisesMoreover there are several issues with the entire serious issues as to if this process was in fact fairprocurement process that cast a very negative and if individuals in this process may have beenlight. First given that cost, technology transfer, personally compromised due to Frenchkinematic ability and operational sovereignty espionage.determined the initial elimination round, thesevery problems have been negated in the second On record is a history of bribery in every majorround by basing it on cost. Second given that the defence contract that France has signed in the“second round” entailed no further testing of last decade or so. The Taiwan frigate contract,technical requirements it seems that the whole the Pakistani and Malaysian submarinepurpose of the second round was merely to contracts, and each of these has led to deaths byplace the Rafale against a higher cost option— foul means of Taiwanese, Malaysian and Frenchsomething that would have been obvious from defence officials and engineers. This is a recordday one. Since the Rafale could not have hoped that simply cannot be ignored given the twiststo match the single engine offerings on cost—it and turns in this selection process. Also onwould seem the entire purpose of the down record are the harsh US, UK and German anti-select was merely to make the Rafale the lowest corruption laws which provision for bribery incost option. foreign countries as well. France’s record on the other hand is of whitewashing even when theThe procedural integrity of this procurement is lives of its own citizens are taken as has been thealso highly suspect and patently unfair given that case with the DCNS contractors in Karachi.the Rafale was given a second chance to “submitdocumentation” well after the proposal deadline Malfeasance in this deal can circumstantially behad passed, throwing the credibility of any future attributed across two categories involving threedeadlines into doubt when combined with the incidents. The first is political malfeasance thatinordinate delay in the Scorpène programme. At comprised the politically motivated re-inclusionbest this can be seen as unethical, unfair and of the Rafale after its elimination followingunprofessional goal post shifting but should negotiations between President Sarkozy andreports of the Rafale’s early elimination and Prime Minister Singh. This same incident also
  11. 11. IPCS Special Report 126, April 2012plays in the military malfeasance of the framing, be surprised if the costs quoted in the press riseevaluation and selection committees of the Air to 27 billion dollars – a much more realisticForce in not making such elimination final or figure. All this ignores the life cycle costs of thevoicing opposition to dangerous political plane which as per NATO wisdom amounts tointerference that breached the institutional two to three times the procurement cost – whileintegrity of the process. Furthermore, the the myth doing the rounds right now is that thereframing of the contest as the MMRCA without 20 billion dollar figure “includes” lifecycle costs.adequate change to the requirements and This assertion is impossible to support given thegauging the future threat environment for the facts. The true programme cost of the Rafalesecond incident of malfeasance that must be laid including lifecycle costs will most likely be in theat the air force’s gate. Lastly the miserably range of 81 to 108 billion dollars – all for planeflawed “bang for buck” equation constitutes the inferior to even the baseline Su-30MKI whichthird and final act of either malfeasance or sheer costs 1/5th. The reality is this procurement isincompetence/ineptitude on part of the air going to wreck the modernisation of the Indianforce. Air Force, not because of the costs – but because the costs involved are so disproportionate to theThe bigger picture here points to two consistent insignificant capabilities the Rafale brings to thefacets of French manipulation – a borderline table. Ultimately the Rafale and the Air Forcegenius tactic that renders such corruption selection committee that chose this plane are ainvisible to the investigative apparatuses of clear and present danger to the Indian Union of asociety – first bribery at the requirement far greater magnitude than the PLAAF or PAFformulation stage to skew the terms of ever will be.reference, and second chronic underpricing. Thefirst comes into play before the process is set in REFERENCESmotion and the second activates at thecompletion of the process – as a result A. ENCYCLOPAEDIAinvestigation of the process itself find no tangible Janes “Janes All the Worlds Aircraft 2010 –evidence of graft since the periods of such graft 2011”are excluded by the very scope of suchinvestigation. It is a testament to the B. HISTORIC CONVERSION RATESsubstandard quality of the Rafale that it failed http://www.exchangerates.org.uk/even these rigged minimum requirementstesting in 2009, while the alarming price C. OFFICIAL REPORTSescalation of the Scorpène deal points to how French Senatepost contract price escalations are slowly forced "Projet de loi de finances pour 2009 - Défense -down the consumers throats. The fact that Equipement des forces” (in French).India’s military acquisition is managed in a Senat, 2009. Accessed and Verified on 3 Aprilchronically incompetent and maladroit fashion 2012only serves to shield the gradual price escalationthat will assuredly ensue. National Audit Office “Management of the Typhoon Project”Signs of this are already on the horizon. When Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General,the MMRCA programme commenced it was H C 755, Session 2010–2011, 2 March 2011priced as a 10.6 billion dollar contest. By 2009newspaper reports were indicating that it was a D. INDUSTRY REPORTS12 billion dollar contest. In 2011 the first Defense Aerospacewhispers of 18 billion dollars appeared in the “Sticker Shock: Estimating the Real Cost ofpress, while post Rafale victory – within a month Modern Fighter Aircraft”– the standard quoted price is 20 billion. At the July 12, 2006213 million dollars per plane rate one should not E. ELECTRONIC DATABASES
  12. 12. India and the RafaleElectronic Aviation page on the Rafale Wall, Robert, “Switzerland Buys Gripen NG Over(Accessed and verified last on 3 April 2012) Rafale, Typhoon” Aviation Week, 30 Novemberhttp://www.electronicaviation.com/aircraft/ 2011Dassault_Rafale/819 Wall, Robert,“Double Trouble For Rafale in UAE”Aero India – Reports Section Aviation Week, 16 November 2011(Accessed and verified last on 3 April 2012)http://aeroindia.org/reports-4337 AGENCIES AFPGlobal Security – Overview of the MMRCA “French jet firm makes Swiss new offer: report”competition, http://www.globalsecurity.org/ France 24, 29 January 2012military/world/india/mrf.htm http://www.france24.com/en/20120129-french- jet-firm-makes-swiss-new-offer-reportBharat Rakshak – Mig 21 Bison upgradeprogramme, http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ AP reportIAF/Aircraft/Current/605-Bison.html “President delays purchase of expensive French fighter jets”F. ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS France 24, 7 December 2012Govindaswamy. S, “Indian Air Force says Rafale http://www.france24.com/en/20101207-brazil-still in fighter competition” Flightglobal, 20 Apr rafale-fighter-jets-lula-da-silva-purchase-france-2009 rousseffhttp://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/indian-air-force-says-rafale-still-in-fighter- TNN,competition-325334/ “France’s Rafale back in race for Rs42,000cr deal”, Times of India, 22 May 2009Pandit, Rajat, “French fighter jet out of race forbiggest IAF deal,” Times of India, 17 April 2009 COMPILATION Defence Industry Daily, “Switzerland’s F-5 FighterPandit, Rajat, “India set to sign $2.4bn Mirage Replacement Competition,” Last updated 15deal with France,” Times of India, 19 May 2011 February 2012 http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Stevenson.R, Menon.P & Hepher. T switzerland-replacing-its-f-5s-04624/“UAE Says Rafale Proposal Unworkable”Reuters, 16 November 2011 Defence Industry Daily, “France’s Rafale Fighters: Au Courant In Time?,” Last updated 25 MarchSzondy, David, “BAE Systems to provide new 2012helmet display for F-35 pilots” Gizmag, 21 http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Frances-October 2011 Rafale-Fighters-Au-Courant-in-Time-05991/http://www.gizmag.com/f-35-helmet-display-bae/20216/ Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies B-7/3, Safdarjung Enclave New Delhi 110029 91-11-4100 1900 www.ipcs.org