In a recent announcement in April 2015, the Indian Air Force (IAF) states that it is approaching the finalization of a deal with Dassault Aviation for the procurement of 36 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft. Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, stated, “Our civil servants will discuss terms and conditions in more detail and continue the negotiations." Under a government cooperation, Modi had asked France to supply the aircraft in fly-away condition in an effort to address the importance of fighter jets within the country. This previous agreement took place in January 2012 under a $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) contract. If put into action, 18 of the total 126 Rafales would be manufactured in France and the additional 108 would be assembled within India by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). However, this plan was delayed because Dassault did not want to guarantee Indian-built fighter jets.
Despite these hiccups, both sides are hopeful that the deal will close in the near future. Eric Trappier, CEO and chairman of Dassault Aviation, said,
“Just as we are delivering the first upgraded Mirage 2000, I am delighted by the decision of the Indian authorities which gives a new impetus to our partnership for the next decades and comes within the scope of the strategic relationship gathering France and India."
They predict that the first jets will be delivered within the next two to three years.
The Rafale aircraft is a twin-jet combat aircraft that can act as a dynamic and resilient form of defense for both ground and sea attacks. With a hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS), the cockpit can be easily maneuvered during rough weather conditions. This design has incorporated a Thales Avionique display system to provide firing cues and mission data for the pilots on board. There is much hope that this contract will help both governments strengthen their relationship and advance their defense systems.
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