New Delhi: One of the senior-most Indian Air Force (IAF) officers, Air Marshal SBP Sinha, who was part of the Rafale cost negotiation committee, on Wednesday said we had got the latest weapons, sensors, a better price and delivery terms from Dassault, the French aircraft maker.

He was speaking at a seminar ‘IAF Force Structure 2035’ organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) in the national capital. CAPS is an IAF-backed think-tank. Air Marshal Sinha, who presently heads the Central Air command of the IAF, said “Rafale will overwhelm our adversaries”.

Air Marshall Sinha explained the costs saying for the first time performance-based logistics (PBL), which is to maintain the planes for five years at two separate bases (Ambala and Hashimara), was part of the upfront costs. Normally maintenance and spares are negotiated separately after the contract of the plane is finalised.

Speaking about the earlier attempt to procure 126 multi-role medium combat aircraft (MMRCA), Air Marshall Sinha said the cost of 108 planes that were to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had never been worked out so we don’t know what the Rafale would have cost through the HAL route.

Since Air Marshal Sinha was also part of the MMRCA negotiation, he revealed that by July 2012 issues of local production of Rafale under the previous tender had not been resolved. After the deadlock we could cancel the tender and invite fresh bids to negotiate with new plane maker that would take years.

The price of the Rafale was already arrived at by the MMRCA negotiation Committee, hence, there was no issue of going ahead with Rafale. India ordered 36 Rafale at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The delivery starts in September 2019. The government by providing the Rafale and the S400 air defence missile is strengthening the IAF to counter the shortfall of depleting numbers.

Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi and his three cousins, Sanjeev, Rajeev and Sandeep, were on Wednesday granted bail by a Delhi court in a money-laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. The bail was granted after they appeared in the court in pursuance to summons issued against them. PTI

‘Fleet Upgrade Urgent’

We need to upgrade our fighter jet fleet urgently. We have to match our two neighbours —Pakistan and China — to tackle a two-front war.