by G Harindra Kumar

"The French government has signed a €2 billion (U.S. $2.3 billion) contract with Dassault Aviation to develop the Rafale’s F4 standard, which is expected to be validated by 2024, although some functions will be ready by 2022. French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly also confirmed with the manufacturer that it could move forward with production of the last 28 aircraft of the 180 it has on its order books" was reported by American website yesterday.

It is worthy to note that the report mentions in unequivocal terms that the new $ 2.3 billion contract is for the development of the upgraded F4 standard Rafales for the last tranche comprising of 28 fighters of the total 180 fighters already ordered by Armée de l'Air which will have the advanced F4 features.

However, a rather hilarious news report appeared in a web based publication which vilified the Rafale deal. Such a narrative is being latched on by some of the suspect media ever since Rahul Gandhi took it upon himself to rejuvenating his flagging political career after 22 consecutive defeats at the assembly polls by needlessly raking up the Rafale deal. Having narrowly "Won" 2 and badly lost 2 assembly elections, he has upped the ante against the Modi government all in the hope to equate the Rafale deal with the notorious Bofors scam!

Amazingly, the title of the report by Defense News clearly states the word "upgrade" and not a fresh order of the fighter. The article spins the usual suspect yarn of misdemeanour by the Modi government in purchasing the Rafale fighters which are required urgently by the IAF as it faces a severe force depletion scenario. The inventiveness of the author has to be lauded as he reels out utter prevarications after prevarications deliberately to substantiate and justify his lies.

The author startlingly compares the price of an upgrade program ($ 2.3 billion) to that of the fresh purchase of 36 fighters by India.

The Defense News report further adds that, "The 28 aircraft will include some F4 functionalities and be delivered to the French Air Force from 2023. Parly announced that a further 30 aircraft at the full F4 standard would be ordered in 2023 for delivery between 2027 and 2030, taking the French Rafale fleet to a total of 210 fighters.

Thankfully, this report appeared in an obscure publication however, it won't be long before other inimical editions will pick up the story and spin their own tale of deceit and lies.

Hari is a historian, author, military enthusiast and a cyber geek. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same