REPORT: Hillary Clinton makes “unbelievable” F-35 pitch to India

This report on Eurasia.net by the South Asia Analysis Group this morning on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to New Dehli last week raises some very big questions. Among them: If this is true, why didn’t the US government offer the F-35 to India in the first place? And does the “unbelievable” description of the $65 million F-35 price tag imply a positive or negative connotation?


Hillary Clinton’s Hits And Misses In India – Analysis

By Rajeev Sharma

The visiting United States Secretary of State Hillary, who held the second Indo-US Strategic Dialogue with her Indian counterpart S M Krishna in New Delhi on July 19, failed to give any concrete assurance to India on its concerns about Nuclear Suppliers’ Group’s recent hardening of ENR (Enrichment and Reprocessing) technology transfer terms …

KEY EXCERPT:

Clinton is understood to have made a strong pitch for more US military sales to India, especially in the wake of American companies recently losing out in the race for a $ 10.4 billion order by the Indian Air Force for 126 fighter aircraft. She expressed her country’s willingness to sell state-of-the-art F 35 warplanes to India at “unbelievable” prices. The Americans are understood to have asked the Indian government to open its purse strings for the Lockheed built fifth generation super stealth F-35 Lightning the basic model of which is being made available to India for $ 65 million apiece. The Indian defence establishment would naturally find the offer too good to be true as much inferior fourth generation French Rafale is priced at $ 85 million and Eurofighter Typhoon (also a fourth generation aircraft) at $ 125 million apiece. The American offer signals American desperation for capturing a big pie of the highly lucrative Indian defence market, especially after two top American fighter aircraft manufacturers – Lockheed (F-16) and Boeing (F-18) – got eliminated in the recent Indian MMRCA deal worth $ 10.4 billion. More clarity would have to emerge on the proposed F 35 Lightning sales to India.



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15 Responses to REPORT: Hillary Clinton makes “unbelievable” F-35 pitch to India

  1. John S. 2 August, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    “Among them: If this is true, why didn’t the US government offer the F-35 to India in the first place?”

    Because the MMRCA tender specfically stated only in-production aircraft were eligible.

  2. Stephen Trimble 2 August, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    True, but there are ways around that. Lockheed at one point floated a proposal to offer F-16s initially and then transition to F-35s as they became available. I’m not sure how that fell off the table, but as far as I know that wasn’t in the final proposal.

  3. aeroxavier 2 August, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    ohh yeah, they will give one f-35 prototype for prove his superiority? certainly not.
    They give one paper nothing more.
    One thing is sure, the EF or the Rafale can take the place of the f-35 in international market.
    I’m sure the price isn’t one “fake”, USA will pay the rest with the taxpayers.
    They will absolutely destroy european planes and save the F-35.This contract can really destroy the future of US aircraft dominance

  4. Brad 3 August, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    that price is a joke, the comparison to the 4th generation European fighters speaks for itself

  5. sferrin 3 August, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    @aeroxavier: The Eurocanards are 4th generation aircraft whos utility will become less and less as time goes on. The US sees this, as does Russia, China, and now India.

    “The Indian defence establishment would naturally find the offer too good to be true as much inferior fourth generation French Rafale is priced at $ 85 million and Eurofighter Typhoon (also a fourth generation aircraft) at $ 125 million apiece.”

  6. Firefox 3 August, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    I really have to appreciate the hold Lockmart has on US government officials – be it Mr. England, Mr. Gates, Mrs. Clinton. Lockheed has superb influence/lobbying power. But I would say the future of combat aircraft is in China, Russia, South Korea.

  7. Sam 3 August, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Of course, India can and should use that price $65M for the F35 in its negotiations with the Eurocanards after ensuring the comparisons are valid in terms of ToT, future usability in times of conflict, configurations and included weapons and avionics before deciding.

  8. Eric Adito 3 August, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    The price quoted is correct. Dassault people in India know this very well. USA is again trying to stall the sale of the Rafale. I hope the Indian government doesn’t succumb to these coercive tactics.

  9. Jim Dorschner 3 August, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    And what exactly makes Rafael “much inferior” to the F-35? Ditto for Typhoon? Both have greater payload and range and are more agile than the F-35. The central fact is that F-35 cannot be in front line service with India for at least another decade – probably longer, and will be hugely expensive in whatever stripped down version it may be offered. Finally, how important is F-35 stealth to India, and will the F-35′s stealth even be effective in the face of (Chinese) radar developments anymore by 2025+? I’m sure the F-35 will eventually be a useful and effective combat aircraft when it finally enters service around the world – but it’s still platinum-plated and arguably a lemon – certainly not worth the price or the wait. If I was India I’d happily go with Typhoon or Rafael.

  10. sferrin 3 August, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    “And what exactly makes Rafael “much inferior” to the F-35? Ditto for Typhoon?” Stealth. You may have heard of the concept.

  11. Su30mki 4 August, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Important thing is TOT , which plays vital role here

    surely US won’t grant TOT for F-35 (bcoz the main reason for f-18 elimination from mmrca is insufficient in degree of TOT given by boeing)

    when dassault is ready to give source codes for ASEAN radars and other mission computers (which is important to assign diff mission parameters for diff strategic missions)

    Why should india go for f-35(while it is still basic model)????????????????????

  12. Layman 4 August, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Let’s assume that the “stealth” of a F-35 makes it superior to a Rafale or a EF in some circles.

    What would India need that for? They have not made any announcements that they want to invade any country. If “Stealth” or small radar signature was required then there are many UAV’s that could be used in the role of say knocking out enemy radar.

    I think that it is rather insulting to India to try to disrupt an arms purchasing programme that has already made some decisions and is in the process of making a final decision.

    The Rafale and EF are currently in battle, proving their worth, despite being called “inferior”.

  13. sferrin 4 August, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    “The Rafale and EF are currently in battle, proving their worth, despite being called “inferior”. ”

    What battle? Flying over uncontested airspace? Please. If the best that can be said about them is “hey, look how well we fight in uncontested airspace” India should drop them off the list right now.

  14. aeroxavier 4 August, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    what do you mean with US aircraft? massive air battle between f-22 and others?

    In libye they prove their capability to operate in enemy space, to destroy target and to make the job without prob.
    The rafale proved his omnirole capability .
    we can’t say the f-22 is better and proved that, and the f-35…
    Americans was stupid, irak war is one massive war and intensive combat, but libya when the US don’t make the big part, that’s one little war with no resistance, but why when french rafale have perced libyan defense, USA need launch more than hundred tomahawk? only one plane was shoot down and that’s one american plane, why? because US pilots can only fly in uncontested airspace or US plane was not what many people imagine

    really sorry for my english

  15. fred perry polo 29 July, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Wireshark works on typically the Mac pc though it’s obviously pure excess with this!

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