In the 7 February edition of Flight International, we'll be analysing what the MMRCA means for both manufacturers. If it does turn out to the the winner - and all the cards are now in its favour - this will be the first export deal for the French fighter and a massive boost for President Sarkozy in his election year. If Eurofighter has lost, questions will have to be asked about how a programme that is producing much greater numbers of aircraft, thus driving down unit cost, can be more expensive than a rival with just one customer, the French state.
Here's the story that we've just posted on flightglobal.com
The Dassault-led Rafale International team has taken a decisive lead in India's medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) battle, with the French proposal having beaten a rival offer by the Eurofighter Typhoon on price.
Although the Indian government and defence ministry have yet to make a formal announcement, the French airframer confirmed on 31 January that it had been selected for the 126-aircraft deal.
Exclusive negotiations for a Rafale purchase will now take place, with Reuters having quoted Indian Defence Minister A K Antony as saying a deal will not be concluded before the start of the next financial year in April.
"Dassault Aviation and its partners reiterate their commitment to meet the operational requirements of the Indian air force," the French company said, adding that it was "honoured and grateful" to have gained selection.
EADS and the German government, which headed the Typhoon MMRCA campaign for the four-nation Eurofighter consortium, have yet to comment on the decision. However, a UK source said that while the announcement comes as a disappointment, Dassault must still clear detailed negotiations to sign a deal with New Delhi.
If advanced to a production contract, the Indian selection would hand a first export success to Dassault with the Rafale, following earlier disappointments in campaigns in countries including Morocco, Singapore and South Korea. The type has also been the subject of apparent past selections in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates, but sales have yet to be finalised with either potential customer.
In addition to Dassault, which builds the fighter at its Merignac facility in southern France, the Rafale International team includes radar and electronic warfare system supplier Thales and M88-2 engine producer Snecma.