The Rafale Saga: Delayed Timelines, Cost Escalation and An Executive Decision

A proposal for the purchase of 126 MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) was first mooted by the IAF to the Vajpayee-led NDA government in 2000. On acceptance, the initial RFI (Request for Information) was issued in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led UPA government came into power in 2004 and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the then Defence Minister AK Antony gave clearance for the purchase of 126 MMRCA, post which the RFP (Request for Proposal) was issued in June 2007. T

he RFP was earlier planned to be issued in December 2005, but the timeline was delayed as a new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was put in place in 2005 and there was a need to fine-tune the offset policy under DPC 2005.

The concept of total life cycle costs had been introduced for the first time in Indian defence procurements and was reportedly a major source of the delay.