New Delhi is in the final stages of a process that could lead to a contract for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft.
Negotiations between Indian and French teams regarding the final terms of the contract are now concluded, said defence minister Manohar Parrikar during a recent visit to Bengaluru.
“I should receive their report this week and the ministry will analyse it and then send it to the Government,” he said. “After the report is submitted, it may take the government four to five weeks to officially come to a conclusion as to the final terms of the contract.”
Parrikar made the remarks during a recent visit to Bangalore. He indicated that the contract would be valued at approximately $7-8 billion.
New Delhi will also look to acquire a single-engined and a twin-engined fighter type under the Government’s ‘Make-in-India’ initiative for manufacture in India.
“We also envisage acquiring single-engined and twin-engined fighter aircraft under the ‘Make in India’ programme,” he says. “Final discussions are likely to be concluded in a couple of months to decide the exact course of action, though more or less the line is decided.”
Extensive negotiations have reportedly been underway between the Ministry of Defence and the air force to decide on the final requirements and iron out the financial aspects of such a proposal.
The plans for production of a twin-engined fighter in India could tie-in with recent remarks by Dassault Aviation chief executive Eric Trappier: “At the moment we are negotiating the price for the first 36……we are already preparing the second phase of the contract, that is an additional order of some 90 aircraft but that is in the long term.”
Saab has been running a highly visible campaign in India to promote the Gripen E to be built in India. Lockheed Martin has offered its F-16V and Boeing has proposed the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet for manufacture in India.