Very interesting :
source : http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/vie...6343&start=280
MMRCA in retrospect:
Right from the beginning I sad that the MMRCA contest was for the French to "lose".More than the other aircraft,they had the "inside lane" as the IAF was very happy with the M-2000,had earlier wanted more of them,plus possessed several French missiles and used French avionics and key components from SAGEM,etc. in the SU-30MKI programme too.With the IAF signing up with Russia for the FGFA/PAK-FA 5th-gen fiighter,there was little point other than a much lesser acquisition cost for acquiring the MIG-35. Acquiring either US or Euro tech was the best way to widen the tech base of Indian aerospace ,especially when it came to AESA radars,NCW and engines.
With the impossible conditions attached to US weapon systems,the intrusive inspections,a track record of sanctions that crippled the LCA programme at a crucial stage,setting it back by a few years,the fact that it refused to abandon Pak,India's mortal enemy despite 9/11,26/11,etc.;the latest NATO report says that Pak is still supporting the Taliban (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... veals.html),that Pak operated F-16s and both US aircraft were of 3rd gen vintage with extra "makeup",the F-18SH quite expensive too,both US aircraft were handicapped right from the start.
The Gripen was a great little aircraft but too close to the LCA in size and style to be picked as it would endanger the LCA programme still in its developmental stage.Flying with a US engine made it also vulnerable to US sanctions.Veteran high ranking IAF air marshals too preferred a twin-engined aircraft given the high rate of bird strikes in the country,and he sudden emergence of Chinese agression (political,diplomatic and military),which was unforseen by the myopic political/MEA establishment.Waging an air war across Himalayan heights and operating from high alt. airstrips required powerful twin-engined aircraft preferably.
Rafale and Typhoon were the latest 4+ gen Eurocanards that were available and were justifiably shortlisted.But there was a concerted campaign to bring back the US through the back door. Shocked and stunned at being dumped into the dustbin,as the US mistakenly thought that the deal was theirs for the asking after the N-deal was signed,tried desperately touting the JSF as a superior bird .With the PAK-FA/FGFA prototypes already flying,deal signed and sealed with Russia,there was little point in even considering the JSF which was itself the subject of a raging controversy in the US over its delayed arrival,developmental problems and massive cost overruns,prompting even its closest allies like Britain to dump the STOVL version option and drastically reduce numbers of JSFs to be acquired.More importantly,if closest ally Britain could not get 5th-gen JSF tech from the US,fat chance non-ally India would get anything more than screwdriver tech ! The US had also planned a "three-tier" system for export versions depending upon how much moolah an ally had contributed to its development.So one would fly in first,second or third class seats depending upon the price you paid! Lastly,even the USAF were going to get their first sqd. only in 2019 and currently had no aircraft upon which their pilots could be trained.Some US politicos even wanted the whole or part of the project scrapped! To add insult to injury,despite all these well known facts, US diplomutts and military experts kept on touting the JSF through "megaphone" methods,even roping in Indian "cheer leaders",imagining that the IAF were ignoramuses and that a concerted PR campaign would make it dump the two finalists in favour of an aircraft that cannot better the air-to-air combat capability of a '70s vintage F-16!
Between the two in performance there was little to choose from.Both did fit the bill and were shortlisted with costs being the deciding factor...in principle.In reality however,it appears in retrospect,that the IAF had already made up its mind after the first technical evaluation.Dealing with one nation was so much more preferable to attending innumerable multi-national conferences required for each decision on EF upgrades etc., which had to be approved by each partner! This could prove a proverbial "Brussels" nightmare for the MOD later on.Open criticism from British MPs and others about the high cost of development and exorbitant price ,made the EF less attractive than the Rafale.,which had the edge but was equally expensive having been bought by no other nation! It was a regular loser in contests and despite good showings in battle in Afghanistan and Libya,there was doubt in certain quarters about future French commitment to its future development.
Despite the "tilt" in the Rafale's favour ,the French problem was how to swing in the final financial stakes such an expensive aircraft which had failed in many competitions in contributary part due to its high cost? The answer was to award the French a few lucrative contracts in advance,or assure them of the same,so that they could use the anticipated "bonus profits" to make an attractive bid.This they quietly did well knowing what the price-band the EF would be offered at,given their experience in previous contests where they had lost to the Euro-bird.
Thus the M-2000 upgrade was first signed,at exorbitant costs,even questioned by many within the IAF itself. This assured the French that they would have adequate financial bargaining power in the final bid.Deal 2 for MICA AAMs was also cleverly done,AFTER the shortlisting,so as not to excite and arouse suspicions.A masterstroke! They well knew that it would come through,and at what cost,and factored in this additional bargaining chip.The EF camp knew that the French would give a good discount as they were more desperate than even the EF nations,who were sure of more orders as an interim buy,for nations who had opted for the JSF,whose final costs still could not be determined and much delayed, thanks to developmental technical problems,and now expected to arrive in European colours only in 2020+.They felt assured from the warm reception their heads received when in India and from the keen interest being shown in the EF and deliberate leaks in the media that they were "in front",lulled them into a false sense of belief in winning the contest on both technical and cost factors.Their discounted price was therefore also attractive but they never estimated how much lower the French would actually go as "deal-2" for MICA missiles had not yet been signed.
Despite being lower,even after the bids were opened,the frantic scuttling between Europe and India by reps of both sides, showed how close a call the deal actually was,but the "inside lane" that the Rafale had was the vital "edge".If political considerations too played a vital part,the French were up there right at the top with UN reforms,N-plants and N-tech to sweeten the deal. All-in-all,a monumental and famous victory for the French ,as they defeated not just the Russians and Swedes,but also the all-mighty US of A,which had the GOI in its pocket in many ways. Most deliciously of all they defeated "perfidious Albion" ,with whom Pres.Sarko had just had the most inelegant of public spats with his opposite number David Cameron at an EU summit.The equally public spat between Britan and Germany over the fall of the Euro did nothing to advance their case for seamless multi-national "cooperation" of the EF's diverse partenrs. David C'ameron's dismay and desperate plea to the GOI to "reconsider" the myriad virtues of his "daughter" offered in marriage and spurned by the "groom", indicates how much the decision is smarting for the Eurofighter nations,especially the British.
Gen.Dupleix must be raising a glass of "champers" wherever he is ,not forgetting another Frenchman,a certain Napoleon Bonaparte!
The last throw of the dice from the losing encampments will be trying to influence the Indian Fin. Min. to delay or dump the deal on the basis of the huge sums involved in acquiring it.There's "many a slip 'tween the cup and the lip",but saying it for perhaps the last time,"the deal is for the French to lose" and I doubt very much if they will let it slip out of their hands this time.Too much rides on this deal for France,not least the outcome of the next French presidential elections.Asterix and Obelix have defeated not just the multi-national Roman army and the Cossacks,but also "Hagar the Horrible" and last but not least."Micky Mouse.Donald Duck and Goofy" !