A double win for Dassault. After the first export sales for 24 French Rafales, ordered by Egypt on 16th., February, it’s now India who has ordered 36 units of the fighter.
The announcement was made last Friday, late afternoon, by French president Francois Hollande and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on an official visit to France, during a press conference at the Elysee, in Paris. The announcement comes with India having just having received its first two, of the 51 planned, modernized Mirage 2000’s.
Interviewed on French radio Europe 1, the Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation expressed his "great pride" ; and on his twitter account, the French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, congratulated the manufacturer’s teams "for this new success."
The contract, worth an estimated $ 4 billion, does not provide for technology transfer, since all the aircraft will be assembled at Merignac near Bordeaux ( south west France ). Is this an infringement of the Indian government’s new strategy, "made in India", which was announced at the Aero India show in February, by their Prime Minister, the same Narendra Modi ?
Not really, because the mega-acquisition contract for 126 Rafale’s, still under negotiation after three years, provides for an option on 63 units. These additional aircraft would be manufactured in France - the others in India. But it seems there is some urgency for the Indian government, who must meet the needs of the Indian Air Force in the sensitive geopolitical context, and the ageing of part of its fleet.
The contract still has to be finalized. Jean-Yves Le Drian "will travel as quickly as possible to India," said Francois Hollande.
With 50 Rafale’s ordered since the beginning of the year, 2015 already promises to be a very good year for Dassault Aviation. A virtuous circle that could bring other export contracts. Malaysia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada, could well be interested in the French fighter. According to the French newspaper’s site, Le Monde.fr, French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, who met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on Sunday, let slip this phrase: "There is a saying in France that everything comes in three’s. I strongly believe in the proverb."