Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) Program cleared by Modi Government will cost Indian Taxpayers less than Rs.13,000 crores in Research & Development cost which will include 4 Pre-Production Prototypes and yet it will be cheaper than what it could have cost India if these jets were acquired from aboard, especially if Navy had pushed to acquire 57 jets under its “Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighters” Tender.

Rafale M per unit flyaway cost in 2011 was reported to be around $89 million, which was flyaway costs per unit, minus its weapons package but with today’s inflation, it could easily be over $120-150 million per unit and F-18 E/ F in its latest Block-III version is estimated to be around $100 million flyaway costs per unit, which could still make TEDBF quite a cheaper option for the Indian Navy since Indian weapons package for the jet will be way cheaper than French and American weapons package which cost almost like a new jet.

Since Navy’s tender never moved into a request for Proposal (RFP) stage even if Lockheed Martin had jumped in and had offered its carrier-borne F-35C Joint Strike Fighter it could have set Indian taxpayers back by at least $131.2 million flyaway costs per unit, spares, and weapons package by even more.

If Navy had demanded a Specific Enhancement package for these jets then the cost of each jet could have seen a considerable increase in cost per unit, since prices mentioned are what they were billed to their respected Navy and developed as per operational and staff requirements of their respected Naval requirements.

IAF paid Rs.12,800 crores for Specific Enhancement package for the 36 Dassault Rafale which will have India specific modifications and enhancements but at the same price, ADA will complete Research & Development cost of Rs.13,000 crores of the TEDBF Program and yet it will still turn out to cheaper then an imported carrier-based fighter jet and will be developed as per Naval Operational requirement and will take technologies already under development for Tejas Mk2 and AMCA fighter jet program. According to ADA, the Air Force version also called ORCA will have a cost of around $65 million flyaway costs per unit and as per report, the Navy had committed to procuring 100 and IAF 50 jets.

Note: Tejas M1A costs $43.6 million flyaway costs per unit and Tejas Mk2 is estimated to cost $55-59 million flyaway costs per unit.

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Article by TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR ,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or