India may buy 57 Rafale Jets: Dassault CEO

Defence News: Dassault CEO Eric Trappier has indicated that there may be upto 57 Rafale jets that India may sign up for. He revealed this in an interview with French newspaper Sud Ouest on may 15th. The deal may be with the Indian Navy which is looking for fighters to equip it’s expanding fleet of Air battle groups. The new INS Vikrant IAC-I will need an air compliment and INS Vikramaditya may also field the Rafale besides the Mig-29K.


Indian Navy’s Carrier arm needs to be cutting edge due to China making it’s PLAAN reach towards Indian ocean region (IOR).China with new aircraft carriers which it just inducted and more under construction, wants to dominate the IOR. A high quality, high serviceability fighter is required to keep the Indian Navy maintain it’s technological edge. Current Russian Mig 29 are very capable and lethal, however face serviceability issues

In 2016, September, India and France signed up for purchase of 36 Rafales to be manufactured in France. This deal came with an option for 18 more at the same price (adjusted for inflation). The Rafales from that order will start joining Indian Airforce in 2019. Deal includes weapons and spare parts, the most notable being the Meteor BVRAAM missile, which is considered to be a game changer.

India may look at ToT if a combined Airforce-Navy deals comes through, even with 57 fighters, it may still be feasible to make in India. Currently, India is the hotbed for aviation startups and new companies are coming up every year to make for both domestic and outsourced consumption. If Dassault can make Rafale in India, it can help the company tide over production costs and offer a more competitive pricing for it’s ace fighter to other markets. High costs of building the fighter in France has made the jet prohibitively expensive.

About the Rafale:

The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The fully versatile Rafale is able to carry out all combat aviation missions: air superiority and air defense, close air 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. With more than 30,000 flight hours in operations, it has proven its worth in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. The Rafale was ordered by Egypt, Qatar and India.

About Dassault Aviation:

With more than 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered to more than 90 countries over the past century, Dassault Aviation can offer recognized know-how and experience in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, from the Rafale fighter to the Falcon range of high-end business jets, as well as military unmanned air systems. In 2016, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €3.6 billion. The company has almost 12,000 employees.

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Written by Baldeva Singh

Baldeva Singh is a tough talking nationalist who has a flair for writing. Defence matters, technical details on weapons and war scenarios are his key expert areas. Baldev is known to walk the talk in his personal life. He is from Patiala (Punjab). His friends call him a “blunt weapon” but he is often found reading old books when free!

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