India and France have finally signed the long-awaited contract for 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts for the Indian Air Force. The deal which is valued at $7.8 billion dollars which is actually down from the initial $12 billion valuation reported by the Indian Express. As part of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), the Dassault Aviation-built multi-role jet fighter deal was signed off by France and India earlier in the fiscal year.
The IAF was initially for 126 Rafale aircraft with 108 to be locally built following a technology transfer to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the first 18 to be manufacturered in France from the second quarter of 2015 on. That plan fell apart as Dassault refused to guarantee that the fighters would be built in India. Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO, commended the Indian Authorities praising their commitment to excellence and keeping the people of India safe.
The Rafale twin-jet fighter aircraft can operate from a shore base or an aircraft carrier to carry out all combat aviation missions. It can also be used for a variety of tasks which include but are not exclusive to interception, reconnaissance, ground support, air defence, nuclear deterrence and anti-ship strikes. The Rafale fighter aircraft initially entered service in 2004 with the French Navy and 2006 with the French Air Force.
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