French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are reportedly in discussions for workshare on possible additional Rafale orders.
Sources close to the matter have been quoted by The Economic Times as saying that ‘detailed discussions have taken place on how HAL facilities and expertise could be used for the next round of localisation when more jets are ordered’.
The IAF has agreed to procure a total of 36 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft under an approximately $8bn intergovernmental agreement.
As part of the deal, the first Rafale aircraft was officially handed over to the Indian Defence Ministry.
Moreover, Dassault entered a joint venture with Reliance Defence to produce Rafale fighter jet components in India.
Dassault and HAL have already worked together on the $2.1bn upgrade of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Mirage 2000 fleet.
The development follows after India Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat talked about the idea of staggered purchase approach of new foreign fighter jets.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is considering buying 110 new fighter jets in a more than $15bn deal, for which a Request for Proposal (RFP) has not been issued yet.
Rawat was quoted by The Print as saying: “You should not go in for large numbers. Staggered acquisitions are important because when small orders are placed, it gives us time to take care of their downtime and also allow modernisation of the three services simultaneously.”