India inks $8.9 billion deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets

India inks $8.9 billion deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets

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Purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France is India’s first fighter aircraft deal since the acquisition of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90s.

India has signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France at a cost of €7.87 billion (US$8.9 billion) to 36 Rafale fighter jets, equipped with latest missiles and weapon system

This is India’s first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90s.

“France and India signed today [Sept. 23] the contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafale by India,” the company said in a statement. The spokesman for Dassault declined to give financial details.

The deal was signed by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian.

The deal comes after 17 months of tough negotiations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision in April 2015 for direct purchase of the jets in fly-away condition, citing “critical operational necessity” of the Indian Air Force (IAF). “Rafale is a potent aircraft and will add to the capability of the IAF,” Mr. Parrikar told media persons.

The first of the jets from France is to be delivered in 36 months, by September 2019, and the entire lot over the following 30 months.

France will also provide logistics and ground support and ensure that there is 75 percent i.e. 27 aircraft are operationally available at any time.

Following the signing, Parrikar tweeted: “India & France signed the deal for 36 Rafale jets. Rafale will significantly improve India’s strike & defence capabilities.”

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to India Thursday for a scheduled meeting on Sept. 23, according to French Ministry of Defence spokeswoman Valérie Lecasble.

According to French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the deal “is a solid and dynamic partnership (France and India), of which the Rafale is a major and emblematic project. It is a strong commitment for the next 40 years.”

The Rafale is a twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft. According to Dassault, it is capable of carrying out all combat missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.

The weapons package includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile considered the best in the class with range of over 150 km and Scalp long range air to ground missiles.

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