The company is reportedy insisting that India take the latest version as the French company is upgrading aircraft in the French Air Force to the F3R version and all future aircraft manufactured will be of the latest version.
After it was declared the lowest bidder in the Medium Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MMRCA) competition, the French manufacturer upped the price from about US$ 65 million a unit to US$120 million a unit in mid-2014. The price hike is one of the main bones of contention which is delaying the deal.
The reason for the hike is that the F3R version launched in 2014 incorporates major software changes that will complement the Thales RBE2 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar and allow the aircraft to deploy the MBDA Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile, along with improvements to the aircraft's Thales SPECTRA self-defence system and Mode-5/Mode-S-compatible Identification Friend or Foe interrogator/transponder.
Offering a different configuration aircraft at a higher price is in violation of the original Request for Proposal (RFP). Perhaps it is for this reason that an Indian news agency quoted an unnamed Indian official on January 4 as saying that Rafale has been told, “stick to the RFP”. India is insisting that Dassault cannot renege on the RFP clauses, the report said.
An Indian defence analyst Bharat Karnad writing in the Indian Express newspaper commented on reasons for the price hike that Dassault sought to replace the Rafale originally offered with the “slightly better” F3R version, promised a mid-life upgrade to incorporate the AESA radar and suggested India’s future fifth and sixth generation combat aircraft needs be met by the “F4R” and “F5R” configurations now on the drawing board.
The Assault Rafale particularly in heavy configuration.