Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that India may start getting Rafale fighter aircraft from France earlier than the agreed-upon 36 months. “As per terms of the deal it is 36 months (during which the delivery has to start), but it may come slightly earlier. We have requested them to (deliver it) as fast as possible,” he said.
On September 23, India and France signed the Euro 7.87-billion (Rs 59,000 crore approx) deal for Rafale fighter jets, equipped with latest missiles and weapon system besides multiple India-specific modifications that will give the IAF greater “potency” over arch rival Pakistan. The ‘vanila price’ (just of the aircraft alone) will cost about 91 million Euros each for a single seater and about 94 million Euros for a two seater trainer aircraft.
Parrikar also said that a 12-member committee to suggest structural changes in the military on cutting down flab and reducing revenue (maintenance) expenditure will soon submit its report. The committee is headed by Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar.