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CNC is in the Process of Resolving Certain Aspects Pertaining to the Contractual Framework and Licence Manufacture of 108 Rafale in India With Dassault Aviation and HAL
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha The Standing Committee on Defence has recently informed the Parliament that IAF’s effective combat strength is down to 25 squadrons. Your comments on the report and how do you propose to make up in the 12th and 13th Defence Plans (2012-2022)?
The IAF today has strength of 35 active fighter squadrons as against the government-authorised strength of 42 squadrons. Timely induction of the LCA and early finalisation of the MMRCA contract are essential to the process of building up the combat squadron strength to the desired levels.

The MMRCA deal seems to have hit rough weather with both sides finding it difficult to break the logjam. What is your Plan B? Has it been set into motion?
The MMRCA contract negotiations are in progress. The maintenance, offset and transfer of technology sub-committees of the contract negotiation committee (CNC) have completed their task and submitted their report to the CNC. The contract sub-committee has also finalised most of the articles of the draft contract as per RFP and DPP. CNC is in the process of resolving certain aspects pertaining to the contractual framework and licence manufacture of 108 Rafale in India with Dassault Aviation and HAL. IAF is hopeful that the outstanding issues will be resolved expeditiously and the contract will be signed soon. No alternatives are being considered as MMRCA induction is a part of IAF’s long term perspective plan based on capabilities required in the long term and the envisaged technology drivers.

When you do expect the contract negotiations on the FGFA regarding design sharing, work share and cost to get resolved? When do you expect the FGFA to enter IAF service, and do you have a Plan B for FGFA?
An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to jointly develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft was signed between India and Russia. The project is planned in three phases i.e. preliminary design (PD) phase, research and development (R&D) phase and serial production phase. The PD phase has been concluded and negotiations are underway for the R&D contract. The total cost and work-share distribution of the FGFA project is yet to emerge and we are concerned about the projected timelines of FGFA delivery and efforts are being made to discuss options on how to reduce the induction timelines. A Plan B is not under consideration.

What acquisitions are likely to enter IAF by the end of 12th Defence Plan (2012-2017)?
By the end of the 12th Plan, a majority of the Su-30 MKI would be delivered and we are also expecting the first squadron of LCA to be equipped with full strength of aircraft. The deliveries of upgraded MiG-29 aircraft have already commenced and those of the upgraded Mirage-2000 and the Jaguar DARIN-III are expected to commence during the current Plan period. The C-17 and C-130 deliveries have been completed and deliveries of additional six C-130 aircraft are scheduled in 2017. The deliveries of the Mi-17 V5 being procured for replacing the Mi-8 helicopters will be completed and the induction of the Heavy Lift Helicopters and Attack Helicopters may also commence. The deliveries of 75 PC-7 Mk-II Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) commenced during this period and will be completed by August 2015. The first indigenous AEW&C will also be inducted soon. The induction of the indigenous Akash missile system will continue and the induction of the MRSAM systems is expected to commence. Along with these, a large number of other weapon systems, EW systems and radars have also been inducted into the IAF during the current Plan period. The implementation of Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) project has been completed at the model airfield and we expect the completion of work at another 17 airfields during 12th Plan.

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