India is purchasing French 4th generation Rafale fighters instead of Russian Su-30MKI fighters because the former’s capabilities are superior to the latter’s, The Economic Times reports.
The Indian news outlet writes that the Rafale’s extended loitering ability is 50% greater than the Su-30MKI’s. The former’s flight range is 780-1055 km, as opposed to the latter’s 400-550 km. The French fighter can also be scrambled up to five times a day compared to the Russian fighter’s three times.
According to The Economic Times, thanks to “superior radars and US-produced missiles”, it takes two Indian Su-30MKIs to intercept a single Pakistani F-16 Fighting Falcon, whereas a Rafale requires two F-16 Fighting Falcons.
In August 2019, sources told Defense News that the Indian company Hindustan Euronautics would be concluding its licensed production of Russian 4th generation Su-30MKI fighters in March 2020, unless it received new orders for this type of aircraft.
India’s agreement to purchase 28 single-seat and eight two-seat (training) Rafale fighters from France was signed in September 2016. The deal will cost India an estimated €7.87 billion, of which more than €3 billion will be used by Indian industry. The first batch of four aircraft is expected to arrive in India in May 2020.