|French Dassualt Rafale|
Long wait has come to an end for the Indian Air Force and combat aircraft lovers. Neither the American way, nor the Russian way, Indian government has gone the European way. French company Dassault Rafale has almost bagged the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft multi billion dollar largest-ever deal with India.
The Indian Air Force projected a requirement for about 126 aircraft in 2001 considering the aging MiGs, when the strength was at 39.5 squadrons (down from 45). Also recently the expected delay in the development of LCA got the government kick started.
Analysis: Eurofighter Typhoon VS Dassault Rafale: Comparison using Latest 2012 Figures; What India Gained and What it Missed.
The process was started with the issuing of a global tender in 2007 after which all the six contenders were subjected to extensive field evaluation trails by the Indian Air Force at several locations across the globe. They were the Swedish Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, French Dassault Rafale, Russian Mikoyan MiG-35, and the American F-16IN and F/A-18IN Super Hornet.
According to the agreement, the company who wins the contract will have to provide 18 aircrafts from their manufacturing facilities within 3 years or 36 months. Rest of the aircrafts will be manufactured at home facilities within India by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) under license.
"We have won this contract," French Trade Minister Pierre Lellouche said Tuesday.
"But a number of things are yet to be finalized. At this stage I will remain cautious," he told French radio station BFM Business.
"It's a big win for the Dassault and the Rafale - its first overseas order - after a couple of big disappointments in Brazil and UAE, and a big loss for Eurofighter," said James Hardy, Asia-Pacific analyst at IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
"This is a major win for France, and a major loss for the U.K.," said Endre Lunde, a consultant at IHS Jane's. "This leaves Oman and the UAE as the largest potential markets for the Eurofighter, both of which are significantly smaller than India and are less certain to move forward," Mr. Lunde said.
WSJ reports that the shares in Dassualt Aviation rose up to €735 (a 20% increase) after this news.