FIRST ON LIVEFIST: India Chooses The Rafale

It’s the Rafale! The Indian government has declared the Dassault Rafale the lowest bidder in the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) competition, signalling its prospective victory in a monumental competition that has spanned six years. The story broke first on Livefist. While a letter of intent (LoI) was issued to Dassault Aviation today, a final contract will be signed contingent on successful negotiations over the next 9-12 months. EADS Cassidian has been informed of the government’s decision and is likely to receive further information in the days ahead on how the selection was made. The decision is a big blow to the EADS campaign, considering how much they’d thrown at winning this one.When and if the deal is finally signed, it will be Dassault’s first export contract for the Rafale and the single largest it has ever participated in. I only say “if” because there is still work left before contract signature. But this is, by far, the closest Dassault has gone to clinching an order for the Rafale. The Rafale pips the Eurofighter Typhoon for what is by far India’s largest aerospace contract and one of the most keenly tracked in recent aerospace contracting.

Not to crow or anything, but I happen to be the only Indian journalist who has flown in the Rafale. Here’s my account of that amazing ride. Only if you must though.

Photo / Arpit Agarwal

91 thoughts on “FIRST ON LIVEFIST: India Chooses The Rafale”

  1. Congratulations to IAF for choosing best… both are amongst best but Rafale will complement MKIs better compared to tiffy..

    Time for Celebrations…

    Eager to know flyaway cost/per plane and by how much it crosses original budget of 10.2 billion dollars

    Thanks Shiv for breaking this wonderful news on livefist and HT!

  2. WOW,
    I was expecting this (Rafale) for long time.
    Welcome to this bird to serve our Mother India.

    Thank U All

    — reddy.

  3. I guess, India didn't choose Rafale or Typhoon so far. They have just announced whose bid is low. Only by March, we would know which one of the 2 was selected by India.

  4. i did predict this long ago when we signed the upgrade of Mirage 200… Anywyas this good news for the IAF.. YOHOOOOO!!!!!



  5. Bravo pour ce contrat, les Indiens savent reconnaître les grands avions de guerres , merci à vous pour ça!

    Rafale Go go go go ..

  6. Outstanding decision. Rafael has led the polls on BRF from Day 1. And after a review of the recent Op Libya, there was no way but choose Rafale! Jai Hind! Vive La France!

  7. does this substantiate the allegations made by subramanyam swami about a conspiracy to choose rafale? I think typhoon was the better choice.

  8. WOW! I honestly thought politics would win out and India would go Typhoon as its backed by 4 governments. I suspect the French are so desperate they are giving it away for nothing, like they did yesterday in a last ditch attempt to counter the Swiss win.

    The choice makes sense as the Rafale is the better multirole bomber, especially in the two seat version, whilst India already has the SU-30 as an air dominance fighter which will be supported by the SU-50. Although I'm British so its bad news for the Uk's fighter costs I always felt the Rafale just looks better and diserved a win somewhere. This has saved the Rafale from extinction.

    Question: do you think think the Rafale should replace the already outdated mig-29k on the new carriers? Also buy more, say two seat Rafels, to get rid of Mig-27?

    Shiv, I started following your blog about 2 years ago purposely to keep abreast of the M-MRCA contest and have checked it virtually every day since. Thanks for all your work keeping this updated I hope you keep it going as long as you can.

    Best of luck,


  9. I am feeling very happy. I feel as if I got my own first car / or i am the pilot who is going to fly it. Damn..Should have been a pilot. How much happy our pilots must feel.

    Sudheendra S

  10. Rafale was the first among the 6 to be rumoured to be ruled out of MMRCA competition….What a come back 😛
    Well both are nice fighter jets….Important thing should be timely induction 🙂

  11. Hay Shiv, This must bea great news for us. Is that possible to write an artical about Rafale, its strengths and weaknesses also how is is going to modernize our airforce in the near and far future. This information is very vitial for us to feel Rafale more towards our heart.

  12. Does it mean…India is going to sign the contract with Dassult 100%?

    If Rafale is finalized and contract is signed..then this huge Fighter-Attack jets purchase is definitely a Independent Choice and in the event of any War ..India will have no one to tie our IAF's hand in the back.

    Congratulation to IAF!

    Can some one put a comparative analysis on weapons load performance for an Attack Mission of Rafale against F-35 JSF (Keeping JSF's stealth configuration..i.e. only internal load to be considered)?


  13. Congratulations to Dassault, France, India and the IAF.

    Shiv, could you shed some light on the rumors that an additional 80 jets could be bought?

    Seems to me that the IAF might be looking for 2 things. Either a cheaper and lighter alternative to all the twin-engined jets to either complement or make up for a decreased order of the Tejas. The Gripen NG and the F-16 Block 60 would be the only two alternatives there. Might be why Saab has continued to push even after not making the short list? Would make up for a good high-low mix as the IAF is planning to have 570 twin-engined combat aircrafts while only a handful of single engined combat aircrafts.

    Or a more advanced plane like the F-35 which can replace the Harrier (with the F-35B), the HAL MCA (with the F-35A) and the Naval Tejas (with the F-35C).

  14. Hey Shiv
    A few months back Subramian Swamy had claimed that there was a secret deal between ##### Gandhi and carla bruni regarding the rafale……
    What's your take on this.
    is this another Bofors???

  15. Very pleased to find that Rafale has been chosen for MMRCA.It has proven itself in Libya and moreover it has met the IAF's requirements. This will certainly have an impact on the ongoing Fighter competitions in Brazil, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.Everybody would hope that the deal is signed at the earliest once the price negotiations are over.

  16. India will rule the skies. Can't wait for an IAF Rafale to shoot down in flames a Paki JF-17 over the Kashmir. Greetings from France.

  17. how many rafales will dassault manufacture for IAF 18 or 40 (out of total 126) ??
    there were news earlier that dassault will give 40 aircrafts on fast track basis??

  18. great news!!..look at the ironically funny part here, this jet was reported by media to be the first one out of the MMRCA race..and now its the last one standing, the clear winner! Im still wondering what smoked that up..
    this was the clear choice, we can do with some more nuclear capable multi-role jets in our inventory

  19. I hate to see as soon as a decision is made, people like Subramania swamy and his bunch of croonies coming forth and blaming the Govt. with sonia connection, that connection etc. I am very sure with AKA at the helm of MOD there wont be any kickbacks and IAF would be happy with this decision. The bunch of idiots who are always complaining about the govt. should take a back seat now and let us SEE THE 18 RAFALE IN INDIA BEFORE DEC 2012.

  20. We have good relations with France and their aircraft is good now let us see who will bag the additional 80 air crafts most probably F-35's

  21. Very good and mature decision by Indian govt. Rafale can easily hunt f16 and j10 and on the other hand Pakistan do not have money for eurofighter typhoon.
    Can anyone tell me which variant of Rafale we will get? Will we get AESE radar with these Rafale's ???


  22. Fantastic!!! Can we now go back and revisit the Mirage 2000 upgrade decision and instead get Rafales for the same price!! I would assume that should be on the bargaining table and the French can throw that in as a good will gesture! Come on guys, give us a good deal in return for this huge favour!! We are your first export customer after all. We are saving your industry from certain bankruptcy and put in much needed capital infusion with this deal.

  23. Long time back, I saw somewhere that Sonia Gandhi is closely tracking this deal and wants Rafael to win because she is expecting some kickbacks.

    According to the speculation, Rafael has won.Is this news false?

  24. Selecting the Typhoon (or the other rejected a/c) would have exposed us considerably. The reasons why:

    Typhoon: Many PAF pilots, while on transfer to the RSAF, have flown and trained on and against the Typhoon. They have tested it against their F-16s Alfas, Bravos and the new Charlie 52s. Many of their pilots have already trained with the Echo in service with UAE and Fort Worth.

    F-16s: Need I say more.

    Gripen: Many PAF pilots have had plenty of exposure to the SAAB fighter (albeit the Alfa and Bravo versions) at the ETPS.

    F-18s: Few PAF pilots have also had training stints with RAAF at their Williamtown base (training on Pilatus PC-9s, BAe Hawk 127s and F-18 Alfas and Bravos).

    So, as you can see EF Typhoon may not only have been the best commercial choice but a better strategic bet.

    Rafale may keep PAF guessing for few years to come.

    My 2 cents! But all of you can make up your own mind.


  25. Finally!!! I was always pro Dassult and thank goodness we took that and not an project merely made to create employment in the EU not to mention an conglomerate failure like the EF-2000. We would have sat another decade on the table with the EU on deciding who builds what part of what wing in India just like the Germans and British fought over this issue. They also have no AESA or naval variant.

  26. I am happy that GoI has finally made the choice. I was really frustrated by the indecision and countless deaths caused because of mechanical issues on MiG-21. Though, I would liked the tender to go to Eurofighter, Rafale is not bad choice either if France allows significant ToT and in future if France abandons Rafale project(high possibility), Thales may be allowed to move to India.

    Most of all, I am really surprised that Indian babus can make a decision.

  27. Congrats Dassualt. All I would say is that I never thought that the MoD and the IAF had it in them to select the most obvious choice.

    While each of the aircraft had their plus and minuses the Rafale is good choice purely from a maintenance and training perspective. The IAF crews and pilots have worked with Dassault and only have good things to say about their experience with the Mirage 2000. Selecting a marginally better but different aircraft like the Typhoon or the SH would have resulted in a huge maintenance and operational training effort which is very optimized now.

    I only hope that the Government follows this with two more common sense actions

    1. Allow Dassault to work with private operators on offsets

    2. Do not allow "juggad" on the aircraft during its lifetime.

    3. Ensure that we pick the best in EW suites so that it truly offers a SEAD and A2G capability.

  28. Yeah right, the best aircraft in the world which no country has ever bought.

    India already has sukoi so why go for another similar outdated fighter which no one wants to buy, everyone know typhoon is better than this shit rafale but no india ppl think otherwise (kickback)

  29. It's about time indeed!

    And that large sale of more than 120 Rafales to India will surely help other pending sales in Brazil and in the United Arab Emirates, namely.

    I'm sure the recent libyan campaign, where Rafales made the first airstrikes, helped show the performances of this aircraft.

    In the meantime, here in Canada we're still stuck with this controversial govt decision to purchase more than sixty overpriced, unproven and already flaw-ridden F-35's to replace our old F/A-18 Hornets (A-D), since our current Conservative federal government acts as a mere satellite of Washington.

  30. shiv what's your take on this decision, please write an article about this decision as rafale had lost many international orders, then why india selected it?

  31. I'm satisfied that the IAF and Indian govt selected Rafale over the Eurofighter. The Rafale was a much better cost-effective decision from all perspectives, including firepower and battle performance. But in the end, India has to manufacture its own fighter aircraft.

  32. I always thought Rafale was a slimmer and more efficient aircraft compared to Eurofighter, which is heavier and bulkier. So, I am happy that India selected the Rafale.

    Now, all that I want is 126 more of these aircraft over and above the 126 we purchase. India needs more, and India can afford more.

    But, on the other hand, Indians really suck in their personality!

  33. Mixed bag with either Eurocanard.
    This day and age Aerodynamics are less relevant compared to Avionics. No one beats the Americans on Avionics. Considering the F-16's are a PAF mainstay, the F/A18 would have been a great choice with appropriate Avionics and weapons package.

    But if India gets full ToT, the beauty of this decision is it is ITAR-free. And quite possibly India builds its own jets in a few years.

    Still, I am with Ashley Tellis on this one. I do question the selection process that ignored cost in the first downselect.

    Nevertheless, it does fill a void for the IAF.

  34. such a waste of time, IAF selected around 126 mirage 2000s in 2003-04, new government cancelled the order & wanted an open tender around 8 to 9 years of long process with IAF superiority in the region fast diminishing, IAF selects 126 rafale (similar to mirage 2000).

  35. Hi Shiv,

    Congratulations to the final of MMRCA. If I got it wright the MoD only appointed the lowest bidder. There is not any information about the cost per plane…

    I hope the making of the decision by India will be the pull we (in Brazil) are expecting to our government to join France and India operating the Rafale and get finished our DAMM FX-2 competition…
    A novel as long as our MMRCA…

    The NEXT question is:
    Will India use the Rafale also on their Aircraft Carriers ???

  36. FEEL SORRY FOR THE INDIAN people. We all know how things work there….French government desperate for votes, bribed senior Indian officials resulting in 'low' price. If the Rafale so good why has not a single other country in then world has purchased even one for assessment in spite of lower price!!!!!!!
    If it smells dirty ….looks dirty ….likelihood is, the deal is dirty!
    Is it true UK gives $700m in aid to India – straight into the pockets of officials, none to the poor- ha ha ha

  37. LiveFist did a survey a few months ago asking which fighter airplane the readers preferred. If I recall correctly, the majority of respondents wanted the Eurofighter!

    At that time, the Rafale guys were in the minority. But, the purpose of my message is to point out that if the sample of readers here represent those interested in defense in the nation, then the entire nation was out of sync with the government and ground realities of decision making.

    Therefore, I must further add that the nation is really out of touch with the ground realities of anything and everything concerning India. That is why India is failing on a daily basis in its defense, environment, traffic management, water management, corruption, morality … and hundreds of other things.

    Best of luck, India, you need it!

  38. Future IAF – 220-280 Tejas LCA, and ~200 Rafale, 300 or so Su-30 MKI, 300-350 PAKFA/FGFA, ~400 AMCA and speculation about a few F-35 JSF purchase…hmmm…pretty outstanding indeed.

    With full ToT (including source codes) from Dassault, hope to soon see a Rafale-ish LCA Mk.2B!

  39. Man, i think we should start a new joint-venture with France to co-develop another stealth fighter (for France, of course), this will ensure that no enemies of India get any equipment from France. It will also help India's closest European ally (France) to secure air-dominance over Europe. It'll be good to see India's allies ruling the skies in every corner of the world.

    One question – does anyone know we'll be getting all source codes of Rafale with the ToT???

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