Former Managing Director of India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics, Ashok Saxena feels the Indian government can still look into possibilities of signing a new contract to indigenously manufacture Rafales in an Inter-governmental agreement (IGA).
Saxena, writing for News18 has rejected doubts expressed over HAL's capability and has urged the government to explore possibilities of signing a new contract for indigenous manufacturing of the fighter jets.
HAL has all the experience, infrastructure, skills and competence to manufacture Rafale. HAL has been producing over the last several years’ contemporary modern combat aircraft like MiG series, Jaguars, Su-30MKI, AJT Hawk etc under Transfer of Technology (ToT), Saxena wrote Wednesday.
Saxena stated that the new contract could be same in specifications, standard of preparation (SoP), weaponry, avionics and other systems as those in the existing 36 Rafales deal.
According to him, the new manufacturing contract should include total technology transfer and must include airframe, aero-engine, avionics, radar, accessories, systems and other onboard equipment. Depth of technology transfer should be of highest percentage to facilitate maximization of indigenous manufacture, he added.
Saxena believes that, if such a contract is signed at the earliest, it would facilitate the indigenous manufacture of the aircraft in India in the next 30 months from the date of signing of the contract and their delivery in 44 months.
India with a large fleet of 136 aircraft and elaborate MRO facilities, and manufacturing facilities for spares, will have the potential to emerge as a major MRO hub for our friendly countries, given that France may in near future stop locally producing the Rafale line of aircraft, he asserted.
Maintenance costs will be substantially lower over a period of time as opportunity costs for the spares will drop over longer period of time, plus obsolescence management will be far easier over its life cycle.
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