HAL was capable of producing Rafale fighter jets: Chairman

Udaipur: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman R Madhavan has said that it capable of producing Rafale fighter jets when the initial talks were held but to get quick delivery the central government bought 36 aircraft separately.

“The HAL was capable when the talks were ongoing but to get quick delivery the government bought 36 aircraft separately. If like earlier, 126 aircraft were to be made, some would have been made here and others would have been bought. Since now they have bought 36 there is no question of us making it. HAL is not involved; I would not like to comment anymore,” said Madhavan while speaking to media after attending an engineers’ conference here on Saturday.

The Rafale jet deal, signed on September 23, 2016, in the frame of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and France, has been on the boil over the last few months. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal. The Congress has alleged that Narendra Modi government is buying the military aircraft from French company Dassault Aviation at a much higher price than what was being negotiated by the previous UPA government, which planned to procure 126 aircraft.

The fighter jet is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which security analysts believe can be a ‘game-changer’ for India’s Defence system.

The Supreme Court on December 14 dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt decision-making process in the deal. The top court said it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said that there is no need to conduct an investigation into details of Rafale pricing.