HAL Has Capability To Build Rafale Jets In India: Former HAL Chief TS Raju
"We could have built Rafale too. I was the leader of the technical team for five years and everything had been sorted out."
Q.1 Why did Defence Minister Sitharaman lie that HAL did not have capability and that it was not ready to give a guarantee?
Q.2 By hiding the files pertaining to the deal, who is the Modi government trying to protect?
Q.3 Will the Defence Minister resign for repeatedly lying to the Indian public?
Former head of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), T Suvarna Raju, said on Wednesday that the state-owned company could have easily manufactured Rafale fighter jets had the BJP government managed to close the original negotiations with Dassault.
Raju, who retired three weeks ago, said, “When HAL can build a 25-tonne Sukhoi-30, a fourth-generation fighter jet that forms the mainstay of the air force, from raw material stage, then what are we talking about? We could have definitely done it (licence produced the Rafale jets),” Hindustan Times.
“We would have delivered on the Rafale too. I was the leader of the technical team for five years and everything had been sorted out,” Raju added.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, had said that HAL was ‘dropped’ from the Rafale deal when the UPA was in power, as it couldn’t comply with French company Dassault’s terms of production. She had also said earlier that HAL did not have the capability to produce the jets, a remark that received condemnation from all sides.
Speaking about the high cost of India-assembled Rafale jets, Raju said, “You have to see the life-cycle costs and not the cost per piece of a fighter. Life-cycle costs would have definitely been cheaper. And ultimately it’s about self reliance. There is a learning curve. If the French are making 100 jets in says 100 hours, I will take 200 hours as I am doing it for the first time. I can’t do it in 80 hours. It’s a scientific process”
Raju asserted that HAL would have given a guarantee for the aircrafts it produced, “Dassault and HAL had signed the mutual work-share contract and given it to the government. Why don’t you ask the government to put the files out in public? The files will tell you everything. If I build the planes, I will guarantee them,” he said.
Raju also questioned why the Narendra Modi government was so reluctant in putting out the Rafale deal files in public.