|Prime Minister Modi and President Hollande ©LaProvence|
During the first day of his Visit in France, India Prime Minister Narenda Modi officialy announced that India will buy 36 Rafale "ready to fly":
“Keeping in mind critical operational necessity of fighter jets in India, I have talked to him [F. Hollande] and requested for 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible under government-to-government deal”
This new agreement between France and India is therefore a big change from the original MMRCA deal : 126 jets among which only 18 were to be built in France. Some sources indicate that this first batch of 36 Rafale would be, in fact, the option part of the MMRCA (which was about a possible order of 63 Rafale in addition to the 18+108 other airframes) but it may also be a completly separate deal.
Apparently, this new contract will not replace the project to build a Rafale assembly line in India but it will allow a quick delivery of a big first batch of jets to the Indian Air Force which can't wait anymore to replace some of its older Mig-21 and Mig-27.
Prime Minister Modi told that the exact terms (price and delivery schedule) of this new contract are still to be discussed by the two parties but according to his official announcement this morning, he wants the jets as quickly as possible.
This is a very good news for Dassault Aviation and its workforce in France. When this new order will be signed, Dassault will have an order book of 60 Rafale for the export market only (24 for Egypt + 36 for India) and will most probably have to increase (double ?) the production rate of the Rafale assembly line which is currently one aircraft per month.
Dassault Press release