More Rafales for India Still Likely

Contrary to some previous indications, India is considering an additional 36 Dassault Rafales, a senior Ministry of Defence official said. The contract is likely to be signed in 2019 with deliveries to start by 2022, when the existing $8.8 billion order for 36 Rafales is completed, AIN has learned from sources close to the long-running procurement process. The two orders would add five squadrons of new fourth-generation fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

What seems to have been disjointed planning for future fighters in India is now becoming clearer. India has recently been exploring again the local production of a foreign fighter with OEMs under its “Make in India” policy, this time a single-engine design. But that does not preclude buying more twin-engine Rafales, nor their production in India, it seems. Late last year, Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier told the French newspaper Sud Ouest that “we have the will and the strategy to establish ourselves in India.” There is a 50-percent offset stipulation in the first contract for 36 Rafales, that Dassault will partly fulfill by establishing a parts production and support facility with its local partner, the Reliance Group. “This would be [further] developed if other contracts were signed,” Trappier said. In the protracted and eventually abandoned negotiations for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement, only 18 Rafales would have been produced in France, with the other 108 assembled in India. Read More…

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