Before Rafale deal, Modi govt passed over option to buy Rs 453 cr/unit cheaper Eurofighter

A Eurofighter Typhoon
A Eurofighter Typhoon | Copyright: Eurofighter- Jamie Hunter

German-led offer for Eurofighter Typhoon at €138 mln/unit not pursued; Rafale signed at €197 mln a piece.

New Delhi: Months before it signed the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in 2016, the NDA government passed over another European offer that promised deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft which was €59 million (Rs 453 cr) per unit cheaper than the French planes.

The offer – made at the top level of the Indian government – involved diverting deliveries of Eurofighter Typhoon jets from Britain, Italy and Germany to meet urgent Indian requirements. The offer also pledged to set up a full production line for transfer of technology of the combat jets. (Read full letter)

The offer of the Eurofighter Typhoon, manufactured by a consortium of European firms, was pushed by both Germany and Britain at the most senior levels.

The price: €138 million per unit for 126 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft against the €197 million for each of the 36 Rafale jets New Delhi agreed to buy from Paris.

Both prices do not include the cost of weapons. India has to pay another €710 million for missiles that come with the Rafale. The cost of weapons for the Eurofighter Typhoon were not discussed as the offer was not pursued.

A graphic showing the comparison between the Eurofighter Typhoon jet and Dassault Rafale jet

In fairness, the Eurofighter Typhoon offer was for the larger order of 126 jets involving better economies of scale. The price for 36 flyaway jets was not discussed as India did not engage in detailed talks with the consortium.

Earlier this month, the opposition Congress party alleged a “huge scam” in the Rafale deal, raising questions about the cost of the fighter jet and the procurement procedure that was followed. The Congress claims it had negotiated a lower price for the same Rafale jets.

The Congress also accused the government of promoting the financial interests of its “crony capitalist friends” at the cost of a defence public sector unit, calling into question a large part of the offsets being executed by Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited.

The NDA government has denied any wrongdoing in the deal. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the situation in the Air Force was grim when the alliance took power in 2014 and blamed it on what she said was inaction by the previous UPA government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had to move quickly on the Rafale deal to ensure the Air Force was not left unattended, she had said.

Reliance Aerospace has said that it had no role to play in the selection of the fighter and is only an offset partner to make parts for executive jets and other products.

‘Clear signal’ in favour of Rafale

Back in 2012, both the French Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon had been found compliant to all India-specific requirements by the Air Force. Other aircraft such as the F-16, Gripen and F/A-18 had been rejected after a series of tests. Negotiations started with Rafale due to the lower price offered then.

“Out of the six proposals received in response to the RFP for procurement of the MMRCA, the proposals of M/s Dassault Aviation for Rafale and M/s EADS, Germany for Eurofighter Typhoon were found compliant to the technical requirements. The proposal of M/s Dassault Aviation had the lowest cost,” then defence minister Arun Jaitley had told the Lok Sabha in August 2014.

After it became clear that the UPA-led process to purchase the Rafale was getting delayed, the Modi government was forced to scrap it in favour of a fresh deal. Sensing a fresh opportunity, Germany, strongly backed by Britain, made a new bid and offered a 20 per cent reduction in Eurofighter Typhoon prices for India.

This offer was first made in July 2014 and was valid through 2015 when New Delhi was negotiating the Rafale deal.

Also read: The turbulent history of the Rafale deal

Several sources involved in the process told ThePrint that while a patient hearing was given initially to Eurofighter, a clear signal came from South Block that only the Rafale was being considered.

Also, unlike the process followed with France, where several options on numbers and capabilities were discussed, talks with Germany and Britain did not go beyond a paper proposal.

The Eurofighter Typhoon had been offered at a total cost of €17.5 billion for 126 fighters, or €138 million per plane.

The Rafale deal cost India €7.1 billion for 36 jets, which translates to €197 million per jet.

Even if the €353 million performance based logistics cost – the money to maintain and fly the fighters for five years – is deducted, the Rafale jets cost India €187 million per fighter.

Promise to transfer technology

The German deal also promised technology transfer to manufacture the jets in India. “The alliance of Indian companies with the Eurofighter Typhoon program will have a comparable impact on employment and create more than 20,000 jobs for highly skilled employees in India,” the formal proposal read.

The Rafale jet deal that was finally signed in 2016 did not include the requirement of manufacturing the jets in India, likely due to the limited number of 36 aircraft ordered. While this number is expected to go up, the deal only has a clause that 50 per cent of the contract value will be invested in India. The lead Indian company chosen for this offset clause is Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited.

The Germans also offered to divert current orders in case India required the jets on an urgent basis.

“To further accelerate the availability of fighter aircraft for the government of India we are in dialogue with our European customer nations Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain to divert from their own deliveries to the benefit of the Government of India should you wish to utilize such an accelerated program,” the offer said.

Sources said that India did not get into detailed discussions about the per unit price of the Eurofighter in the event New Delhi reduced the number of jets it planned to order as it eventually happened with the Rafale.

“It was clear that discussions would only be carried on with the French and there was no room for any other offer,” an official, who had been involved in the discussions, told ThePrint.

India is due to get 36 Rafale jets by the end of 2019 – a much needed addition to the Air Force that is desperate for cutting edge fighters. The Air Force is also keen to add to this fleet with more orders, given the unreliability of the existing Russian fleet and delays in inducting the indigenous Tejas.

Read the full letter here:

 



48 COMMENTS

  1. Now that is smart analysis you compare apples to oranges and come up with some numbers that are lower than the current price..and Voila !!! U have a scam !!! have u guys become so desperate to create a perception of wrongdoing that u will simply ignore the simple logic of numbers and start comparing the prices of 36 jets with that of 126 Eurofighter with say 20% discount on that 126 jets offer proposed by Airbus…

    Now let’s say I overlook your spin about pricing and say that you are right on this…

    You still ignore all the professional inputs of IAF as to why they decided for Rafale or are you an expert to know as to why Eurofighter would have been better than Rafale. Or are u trying to tell me that even IAF was biased when they decided to go for Rafale ?? Or are you telling me that they also got some benefit out of a Government to Government deal ???

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you do that as well in your effort to create a “fake scam” you guys will stoop to any level to and wouldnt even spare our forces in your effort to show that Modi Govt in tainted after all its election season…

    And NO IAM NOT A BHAKT…I am a proud son of a former serviceman and I used to support AAP…so dont think am some paid troll….
    If you can prove wrongdoing do it show me the damn money trail…who got what and who benefitted…I will support you and say Punish them in courts and in the voting booths and so will millions of common Indians…

  2. Simple enough reason, Rafale is built by one nation, Eurofighter by 4. If ever we need assistence for anything, we will need to have engagement will all, which for most parts is painful. We have had the Mirage 2000 from France, so reliable as well..

  3. If Mr. Manu Pubby & THE PRINT have sniffed a scam in the NDA’s Rafale deal, they should dig deeper and expose the murky details of the deal. You would be doing great service to the nation in doing so. Writing some vague article without any substantive evidence is definitely not good journalism.

  4. While I can’t say this is the true accounting(since it quotes an off the record briefing), if you go by these numbers(http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2017/11/part-2-how-much-did-rafale-actually-cost.html) the per unit cost actually seems the same. The deal offered by euro fighter, was on paper, and its not like buying something on amazon.
    I have no doubt that the price would have risen once they got into the nitty gritty.
    You can still make the point that the eurofighter was the better deal and should have been considered. But Your headline just makes it sound like this deal reeks of a scam. But you are comparing apples to oranges and complaining that things don’t line up.

  5. During world war 2nd France sufferred heavily this reason French goes development of their weapons entirely different from Other European countries, which are superior than American and others countries in respect of design etc. , superior no match with others. Jai ho Modi sarkar ki, Best of best get selected.

  6. Pre election propaganda by Congress, why did Congress not finalised the Rafael deal for 126 aircrafts? Why Eurofighter was rejected by Congress?
    Why did Congress sabotaged Tejas?

  7. This offer was to derail purchase of Rafale , which Congress party wanted to get 126 procured for their cut to be awarded,

    Modiji not only removed the cut by going for Govt to Govt deal and also reducing the numbers for any significant cut. His quick decision also saved precious time the IAF was loosing by not having aircraft

    This kind of mis information is from those who could not make money and are in habit of looting country

  8. What happened to make India,technology transfer when German and Britain offer at discount price.Why they bought at higher price from France without technology transfer,BJP gov. Should answer.

    • This is not gujju flea market where you bargain at wholesale price. Eurofighter is jointly made by 4 nations, so India would have to be dependent on 4 nations in times of need. Just 1 nation refusing to sell parts can derail entire system. Rafale is not only a better all rounder fighter than Eurofighter but also makes India just dependent on a single nation. Cheaper isnt always better. IAF desperately needs a good fighter/bomber and Rafale was a wise but desperate decision for a quick solution. The very reason its like this is because Congress never bothered to keep up with maintenance of fleets and old jets are rysting and not even sortie worthy let alone war.
      Before asking govt. to answer just use your brain for a while and use logic. You know everything about Rafale deal because it was fairly transparent govt. to govt. deal. WHile you never even knew there was a gun called Bofors until the scam came out.

  9. Lol you just can’t compare both the fighter…. French bird is far superior to the typhoon….. Only experts can say this it’s 4.5 gen fighter jet with very good radar cross section compared to typhoon….. And purpose of both the fighter jets are different and french settels better in our requirements….

  10. Eurofighter is over… production will be stop before 2020 and now there are a lot of technicals problems…

    5. The Rafale is a better bomber AND and a better dogfighter.
    Even F-16 of F/A-18 have good chances to defeat typhoons in a moke fight.
    Lies about the superiority of the Typhoon vanished when they had to face reality.
    Typhoon stays a good interceptor and there is no surprise with that, it was designed for a such role.

    Rafale was predicted the winner of guns only WVR dogfight is because it has the bigger gun.
    the EF has maneuverability and thrust-to-weight ratio advantage.

    The decision from the French to pull out of the EF project so as to build the Rafale may not be all that bad a move. Yes, the EF is a better jet, but the Rafale is cheaper to build and possibly maintain. Not to mention the significant industrial advantage the French get from going it alone.

    As of 2014 everyone knows that Rafale is much more efficient than Typhoon which was humiliated in ATLC and Lybia by Rafale. Not even talking about upcoming Rafale F3R standard. Rafale weapons payload is 9.5 tons and its manoeuvrability and avionics are superior. Actually the only area where Typhoon is better is interception, cause it is a faster aircraft. But once dogfight begins, you better be in the Rafale.

    Although the Rafale can carry more weapons that are connected to the 14 points of connection (and even nuclear weapons), Eurofighter carries weapons, which are good in the case of air-to-air missiles.

    Rafale is armed with air-to-surface MBDA AM-39 Exocet anti-ship missile and MBDA CVS401-Perseus (in the future), while Eurofighter carries AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-88 HARM, Taurus KEPD 350, Storm Shadow / Scalp EG and Brimstone

    Rafale is better than typhoon in all areas and all confrontations year were fatal for the typhoon (atlp, solenzara etc … ) Dassault fighters are considered among the most efficient in the world in terms of combat even if they are not bigger. Rafale is a omnirole fighter from his conception, not the typhoon and the argument is to give more engine thrust or longer range radar is bogus because you must take into consideration all the other parameters, weight, radar syrface, weapon system, aerodynamics etc …Rafale is a must of fighter jet combat. He is more agile with only 15t of thrust, totaly omnirôle and combat proven, not the typhoon…

    ”Typhoon is more manoeuvrable, more technologically advance and faster. Therefore will be a better dogfighter. Rafale is however a better bomber for support of Army .

    Peter Collins stated Rafale as a “war-fighter par excellence”. He added that he deemed the Rafale to be the best and most complete combat aircraft that he had ever flown. He concluded in saying that if he had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, he would, without question, choose the Rafale.”
    And it mentions also how rafale is superior in dogfighting (far superior actually)….

    Energy: Additional kinetik and potential energy is an important advantage in a dog fight. The Typhoon can fly higher and faster than the Rafale.

    b). In order to gain the energy advantage one must climb as high and as fast as possible at the beginning of a dogfight. The Typhoon climbs faster than the Rafale.

    c). In order to outmaneuver the opponent one must accelerate and turn faster. The typhoon has a higher thrust/weight ratio, meaning it can accelerate faster. The Typhoon has a lower wing load 310 kg/m² vs. 322 kg/m². Additionally, the Typhoon is aeronautically more unstable than the Rafale. This means that the point of lift is further in front than the centre of mass. The plane is going to turn (pitch) faster than the Rafale. In order to counter this tendency, the canards are much further away from the centre of mass, in order to have a larger lever for pushing down the nose of the Typhoon in straight flight. The effect is that the Typhoon can permanently pull 9G turns supersonically, whereas the Rafale cannot. The only advantage of the Rafales canard configuration is that it can fly slower before stalling. But, this has little relevance in a dogfight, where you don’t want to be a sitting duck. This Rafale’s canard configuration was implemented, since a slow landing speed facilitates adapting the airplane to an aircraft carrier. But, it compromises the agility of the plane at high speeds.

    Rafale vs Eurofighter Flight Cost Per Hour

    PER HOUR – RAFALE 28000 usd

    PER HOUR – EUROFIGHTER 32000 usd

    • Wanted to know from you how much would the Gripen have cost in indian rupee terms and would it have served 80 percent of our stated purposes ?

  11. It’s shocking to see such shallow stories without any knowledge on such operational and technical matter.like in today’s world its easy to buy air-conditioned but difficult to pay electricity bill…..on similar lines the missiles,radars and other tactical high value equipments and bombs cost no less than aircraft….so please see the complete deal not in active in isolation

  12. This report is in extremely poor taste. The choice of weapon is made by the air force and price is not the only parameter. India already operates French made Mirages and the capabilities of both Eurofighter and Rafale are different. The technical evaluation and all weather performance are evaluated by the air force. Obviously your reporter has no full knowledge of this process.

  13. The rafale was selected after detailed proceedure. The article do not compare both fighters. Raffle has been declared superior by defense writers/experts.

  14. Maintenance Costs for Eurofighter Typhoon is Higher than that of Dassault Rafale.
    UK and Germany are Not Happy with the Performance of Eurofighter Typhoon and the Mighty US is impressed with Dassault Rafale.
    So STFU and Don’t Halt Our Defence Deal(s) with your propaganda money from Eurofighter.

  15. Are you guys for real? or are you playing fools? Eurofighter is a consortium of 4 European nations. Each of the four nations manufacture a specific part. Among them was Finmeccanica, which was black listed by St. Antony. Now you tell me how could India purchase from a black listed firm, without violating the Eurofighter consortium agreements? HAL had to assemble the aircraft shipped in parts from all 4 nations.
    Also IAF wanted one nation to supply aircraft rather than 4 different nations, Understand!

  16. Qatar gets 24 aircraft on 7 billion dollars. If anyone buy less then he will get costly because of infrastructure and spare parts cost. First you get breakup cost of Indian gov then talk about which one is costly. This Rafael deal includes kaveri engine revival also on 1 billion euro. You people don’t know anything only guessing. Do not mislead people.

  17. The Rafale was declared as winner by UPA in 2012, so when Modi came to Power and had to handle the delayed negotiations between Rafale’s Dassault Aviation & earlier UPA govt. The price also had pushed ahead due to the inflationary impact. Modi in all fairness cannot go back to Eurofighter as stiff penalties would have to be paid MMRCA winner Rafale if they were not given contract.

  18. As the article itself mentions that Eurofighter price was for a bulk order of 126 jets and Eurofighter deal was pushed by Germany despite other members reluctant to transfer their part of technology, In war time scenario maintaining a fighter manufactured by multiple countries is a logistical nightmare. For example India had a rift in 2014 with Italy(a member of Euro consortium) due to Italian Marines arrested in killing Indian fishermen in Indian Ocean and the Augusta Westland scam. One key component denied and the jet is simply useless. Moreover Eurofighter comes in Air Superiority category(we already have Su30MKI). IAF needed a smaller omni role fighter in the class of MiG29.

  19. When there was offer by German suppliers to meet the current requirement of the country and that too at a lower / competitive price with assurance to setup full production line – it is imperative that before finalizing, govt of India should have clarified to the German supplier as even after all these matching – why they are not going to be considered. It is a fact known to everyone that even amongst europe – German technology is far superior then any one.

  20. IAF had rejected Rafael and Eurofighters were selected as the MMRCA, Generation -5 aircraft. As Rafael is not a Gen – 5 aircraft and did not possess Array Radar, the capability which is a must in modern warfare, Eurofighter bsigned being a Gen-5 aircraft was selected. However since Ambani had already MOU with French Dassault for Rafael in 2012 only, Modi had cancelled the RFP to benefit Ambani and compromise on national security.

  21. India’s relationship with France is stronger than Germany and GB. France has been consistent in supporting India on International forums on most of the issues than any other European nations.
    Secondly, IAF has a large fleet of French made fighter jets already with a very reliable performance history.
    Israel, another close Allie also has a close co-operation with France. All these made Rafael the top choice, not only price. If price was the only consideration probably Mig 35 would have been the first choice.

  22. Tupoon on evaluating stage had already been rejected on ground that it is manufactured collaboratively by 5 & more countries & any one of them for what ever reason dejected form the agreement meant future upgradation of fighter deal ( it means any country can not transfer any specific technology at any given time solely on political reasoning & india has to satisfy their political objective to carry on the worthiness of the fighter to specific level . & The European consortium will play hide & seek with india from time to time .)
    Rafael is technology wise on par with the other mainly american fighters & so become the best choice & time tested indian allied France never had an issue .
    The Rafael deal were made solely by air force needs & without any political interference from indian government. It had taken its long 10 years to evaluate every aspect & from every angle .now it’s politicians turn to make it finally airworthiness.
    But to some they get suspicious without any reason or proof hence back to stage one for revaluation of entire deal.
    BJP not have any politician with that calibre to untangled the deal from the political rivalries.

  23. And the creepy article will not tell that Rafael is manufactured by 1country only..whereas eurofighter is manufactured by 3-4countries therefore it has many complexities!
    And IAF defeated that eurofighter in friendy exercise by 10-0 or 12-0 by using SU30 MKI

  24. The technical details and proven capabipity as per our air force need is the only criteria , math the apple to apple and not apple with lemon . Rahul is proven idiot and cannot match with modiji,congress is proven corrupt and scammer and BJP is far far more honest and transperant in all business .

  25. The IAF had after trials recommended the Rafele and the Eurofighter .It was left for the political leadership to decide which one to choose.The government chose the Rafele.Though no reason was given but what one makes out of the deal was 1.It was easier to deal with the French politically compared to the consortium consisting of the government s of Britain, Germany et al.2.Above all the I.A.F was keen to use it in the nuclear strike role.This would not have been allowed in case of the Eurofighter.

  26. BAE Systems are trying hard to fulfill the existing orders. There is uncertainty over other orders. BAE Systems announced several job cuts earlier in October this year at its Wharton production line. Currently the order book delivering the jets to British Royal Air Force, Oman and Kuwait is set to end in 2022. Qatar may have bought some aircraft. Clearly, transfer of technology or shifting of production line to India in their case wouldn’t have helped India at all. What is the point when you have no orders backing your project but will only build for yourself. Besides, India needs a different fighters for different purposes.
    Even if the aircraft is cheaper, it wouldn’t have served the purpose. Besides that, Germany, itself is trying to build its own new fighter aircraft along with France. They have about 143 aircraft with them and are not buying anymore.
    It was good on the business aspect that it was not considered for India.

  27. Typhoon is a very gud fighter plane however the name Euro Fighter is where the problem was..
    It is constructed by number of European countries. Dere is no single country dat can claim dat it was wholly buit by it and here the problem comes especially during the wartime as the parts and technology is owned and distributed among them and it is much easier to to convince and keep single country in confidence den a group of them as it can complicate things.
    Plus France is a trusted friend and partner.

  28. 1. Rafale is similar to Mirage 2000 which India has a lot of experience .
    2.Eurofighter cannot provide air to ground support which rafale can. why buy Eurofighter when we have MKI which does the same role
    3.All prices quoted are subjective. rafale quoted lower price than Eurofighter during the MMRCA. The real price comes down when the deal is finally negotiated with the cost of maintenance and the missiles systems accompanying the aircraft
    4. Rafale is a much better aircraft and better to buy a weapon system from a single nation such as france than from a consortium of countries which make it susceptible to sanctions in future. For example Italy could have stopped transfer of certain parts due to the naval marines dispute.

  29. Who wrote this article? Don’t they realize that the Euro fighter is a better plane but we gi fir Rafael because –
    1- Large no of countries in consortium could not be relied upon to support India’s war with Pakistan or China

    2- More important and tactical – Rafael is the only European jet currently capable of flying nuclear payload into enemy territory…very important for India. Euro fighter can’t, it is had better air superiority characteristics though!!

  30. Buying aircraft is different from buying an i phone, you can’t just look at specs and price..what this article is abt. Look at strategic interests!! – Bad reporting

  31. Euro fighter was not the L1 in the first place and these all discounts are all marketing gimmicks privy to anyone related to aerospace sector. Secondly it would be a strategic diaster if we had gone through it because euro fighter is a consortium made by uk Spain Germany italy and dealing with all these countries would be a diplomatic nightmare . Rest assured a right decision is taken

  32. Wait a min.
    Wasn’t Rafale already selected by the UPA-II government?
    And wasn’t there a deadlock in terms of negotiations and pricing?
    So the NDA govt had 2 options- 1. Cancel the deal and risk spoiling India’s name as a customer internationally 2. Go ahead and pay a bomb
    What Modi did- he went for a smaller no of aircrafts via G2G route. This reduced the price under the circumstances and ensured IAF doesnt get too emaciated. Now he is seeking to fill up the remaining requirement through F-16s and Grippen. If Rafale wants to make its case heard, Dassault will have to send an attractive proposal.

  33. ThePrint has tried it’s best to fool readers😂 first of all, Eurofighter Typhoon is known for air superiority though it can perform other roles, while Rafale has proved to be a true multirole aircraft. Moreover, the price for EFT were 138 mil/unit for 126 aircrafts that were made in India. While the price of Rafale is higher because of its lower numbers as well as buying them in fly-away condition. The composition is, acc to my knowledge, 28 single seat and 8 double-seat and they are upgraded with state-of-the-art avionics and pilot interface

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