New Delhi: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman R Madhavan said that HAL was totally capable of producing Rafale jets when initial discussions were on but the transfer of technology was out of question as the order consisted of just 36 aircrafts. Madhavan added that the current government decided to purchase the 36 aircrafts separately as “it was necessary to buy them as soon as possible,” he said.
The HAL Chairman, who was in the city to address an engineer’s conference, said, “For the 36, the question of production here does not arise. If 126 aircraft were bought, some would have been purchased outright and others produced in the country.”
He said that HAL was not part of the process of the current deal.
The issue of the purchase of Rafale jets was in the eye of a political storm stirred by the Opposition as the Congress alleged that the BJP government had bought the military aircraft from French company Dassault Aviation at a much higher price than what had been finalised by the previous UPA regime. The initial plan was to procure 126 jets.
The government was also accused of having overlooked the state-owned HAL while negotiating the agreement, suggesting that the public sector undertaking missed on a crucial opportunity to acquire the technology used to produce the military aircraft.