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India Will Get a Rafale a Month Starting September, Should Order More, Says Dassault CEO

Dassault aviation has been in India for 60 years and is constantly thinking of future collaborations as well, Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier said.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:February 20, 2019, 10:55 PM IST
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India Will Get a Rafale a Month Starting September, Should Order More, Says Dassault CEO
French aircraft Rafale manoeuvres during the inauguration of the 12th edition of Aero India 2019 air show at Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru. (Image: PTI)

Bengaluru: The Indian Air force will get one Rafale fighter jet every month, starting from September this year, Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier said on Wednesday. He also assured that all 36 jets ordered by the Indian government will be delivered in the next two years.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of Aero India 2019, Trappier said Dassault is also in the running for a new contract for 110 jets that India has sought bids for recently.

"We are already keeping to our offset commitments and the Falcon cockpit manufactured at the Nagpur facility is already being purchased by Dassault aviation," Trappier said.

Asked about the controversy over pricing of the Rafale jets taking centre stage in the political discourse over the last few months, Trappier said he was saddened about this.

"I'm a bit sad because Rafale is a good aircraft. It's a high performance aircraft. It will be backbone of the defence of the country," the CEO said.

Asked about the beleaguered fortunes of his Indian partner Anil Ambani, who on Wednesday faced a case in the Supreme Court related non-payment of dues, Trappier said "they (Anil Ambani) may have their matters but we are in a share-holding company and our engineering team is giving technical support so there are no worries."

On why he chose Reliance over the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, he said he chose his partner as he wanted to be in charge of the industrial process in the company, besides overseeing quality and timing of delivery.

Dassault aviation has been in India for 60 years and is constantly thinking of future collaborations as well, he said.

If the economic conditions are suitable, the company could look at setting up a manufacturing line in India too, but 36 jets is too less for such a line, he added.

"In order to give work, you need a business plan. So, 36 is not enough to start a production line," he said, adding that if there are orders for at least a 100 jets, the company could look at having an effective transfer of production.

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