India and France sign €7.8bn deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft
France and India have signed the long-awaited contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafale for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The deal value has come down to €7.8bn from the initial €12bn, The Indian Express reported.
The Dassault Aviation-built multi-role jet fighter will be supplied as part of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) signed by France and India in January this year.
The IAF initially planned to acquire 126 Rafale aircraft, with the first 18 jets to be manufactured in France from the second quarter of 2015 onwards, while the remaining 108 were to be locally built following a technology transfer to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
However the countries scrapped those plans as Dassault refused to provide guarantees for the fighters built in India.
Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said: “I am honoured and delighted by the decision of the Indian Authorities which gives new impetus to our partnership for the coming decades and I thank them for their confidence.
"Together, Indian and French companies alike, we will endeavour to ensure ambitious industrial cooperation.
“I am certain that the Rafale and its performance will hold high the colours of the Indian Air Force.
"It will demonstrate unstinting efficiency in protecting the people of India and the sovereignty of the world’s largest democracy.”
The twin-jet fighter aircraft can operate from either an aircraft carrier or a shore base to carry out all combat aviation missions.
It can be used for air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, Dassault said.
Image: India is purchasing Rafale fighter for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Photo : © Dassault Aviation.