The performance audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India pertaining to the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by the Indian government from its French counterpart states that delivery schedule of the 2016 deal was better than the 2007 one by a month.
The CAG report highlights that according to the original schedule offered by Dassault Aviation 18 aircraft were to be delivered between 37 to 50 months of signing of the contract. The next 18 were to be licensed produced in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and delivered between 49 to 72 months.
"During negotiations the Indian Negotiating Team (INT) conveyed to the French side that it expected the delivery of first batch of 18 Rafale aircraft in 24 months after signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA); and next batch of 18 aircraft in 36 months after signing of the IGA. However, the delivery schedule finally offered by the French side was 18 aircraft by 36 to 53 months...and the remaining 18 aircraft to be delivered by 67 months of signing of IGA."
However, the report further states that in the current IGA the delivery of the aircraft would be faster by a month as compared to what the timelines could have been if the old contract was signed. In the 2007 offer, India Specific Enhancements (ISE) were to be integrated on the delivered aircraft and would have been ready in 72 months while in the 2016 contract, it would be ready in 71 months.
According to a report on The Hindu, there are 13 ISE capabilities sought by the Indian Air Force (IAF) which will be incorporated in batches after April 2022. “After the 36th jet is delivered, the first 35 aircraft would be modified in India by Dassault Aviation at the rate of seven aircraft a month so that all 36 aircraft would be of the same capability by September 2022,” the official source was quoted saying.
The audit, however, also noted how the negotiation team had "apprehensions" about the achievement of the revised schedule since at the time of signing the contract Dassault had "an order backlog of 83 aircraft". It added that the "ministry in its response stated that the project was currently on schedule and the progress was being closely monitored by the resident Project Management Team and also through the Inter-Governmental Bilateral High Level Group."
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2019 18:23:25 IST