Paris, Feb. 01: The much awaited Defence deal to buying Fighter aircraft for Indian Air force finally reached at optimistic decision on Tuesday. French company “Dassault Aviation” emerges as the winner of the world's biggest fighter jet deal. The Indian Air Force will buy 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) from French company “Dassault Aviation” for $10.4 billion (Rs.52, 000 crores).
The plan includes acquiring 126 aircraft, 18 of them in fly-away condition and the rest to be made in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility under transfer of technology.
The sources stated that the process to determine the L1(lowest bidder) is over and the final contract is expected to be signed next fiscal. The French firm Dassault emerged as the lowest tender in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition beating the only other rival Eurofighter.
The sources told that the Rafale fighter has been selected due to the aircraft's competitive life-cycle costs and top-level operational performance. Negotiations will include important technology transfers guaranteed by the French Government. The realisation of the Rafale project will illustrate the depth and scale of the strategic partnership between France and India.
Dassault`s Rafale fighter is an Omni role fighter which means it can carry out ground attack, air defence and reconnaissance role as well. The Rafale fighter can carry anti-ship, air to air and air to ground missiles. It is powered by two engines adding to reliability. It can also carry nuclear weapons.
Air Marshal PS Ahluwalia told that "This deal is very good for the Indian air force we actually started a process in 1998 it has continue till now and coming 10 years till it conducted in air force it decently increase the potential of the air force and also of Indian military it will contribute to national security."
The Air Force sources accepted that the fighter does not yet have the sophisticated AESA radar which will enable tracking of multiple targets simultaneously. But air force sources said it is currently under development in France and will be given to India. Technology transfer and offsets will be critical to successful conclusion of contract negotiations.
This deal is the third big defence contract for the French that has come its way. In the current financial year, the Government of India cleared the $2.4 billion upgrade of 51 Mirage-2000 aircraft and the $970 million supply of MICA fire-and-forget missile for the same aircraft.