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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive the last of the 10 Rafale F3R by Jan 2022 and recently Chief RKS Bhadauria held talks with senior officials at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Prime Minister Office (PMO) to make a case for procurement of 36 F4-standard that is planned for 2024, with some functions becoming available as of 2022. Industrial sources close to idrw.org, says that IAF is lobbying for the purchase of the second lot of Rafale F4 standard aircraft that might be partially assembled in kit form in the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) at Nagpur.

IAF has been pushing additional 36 jets that will take the Rafale fleet to 72 units and the third batch of 36 jets might be pursued post conclusion of the second batch sometime in 2030. Tender floated for procurement of 114 jets in one go, now financially is not viable due to current financial crunch and making them from made in India will not only be expensive but also increase the cost of the unit produced.

DRAL is already planning to operate a service center in the facility from 2023 onwards for the present fleet of 36 jets. DRAL facility was first proposed as Rafale production site in India for a tender floated for 114 jets which now will be adopted to partial assembly the Rafale jets that are shipped from French Dassault manufacturing facility if India agrees to procure the second batch and has a roadmap for the third or fourth batch.

Procurement of jets in batches was first floated by current Chief of defense staff Gen Bipin Rawat so that each batch comes as per the new standard instead of procuring jets in the same standard that requires a higher cost of upgrades at a later stage but procurement of jets in batches also increase the unit cost that needs to be frequently adjusted for inflation cost and newer equipment that is included in the newer standard. Ordering 114 jets under the same standard trickles in the economical scale of production but it also means a large budget that has to be allocated to the procurement of the jets, which is becoming harder due to present budgetary issues.

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