With the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Dassault Aviation ironing out differences over the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), the supply of the Rafale aircraft is expected to begin in 2016-17.
According to a report in US-based Defense Update — a portal on military technology and defence news — French defence minister Jean-Yves Drain will visit India soon to conclude the MMRCA contract so that the supply of the first batch of aircraft can begin in 2016-17.
During the on-going Paris Air Show, HAL brass met with the top executives of Dassault Aviation to review the progress of the ongoing projects. “Both the teams expressed satisfaction on the work already achieved by the integrated teams and renewed their commitment towards successful completion of the various projects,” said a recent statement from HAL.
India’s plan to buy 126 fighter-jets from Dassault has been delayed even though the company won the fiercely fought bid two years ago. There have been reports that the deal has been delayed as Dassault and the government has not been able to finalise the role of HAL in the deal.
According to the deal, Dassault will provide 18 of the 126 aircraft in fly-away condition and the remaining are to be manufactured by the HAL. Media reports have stated that Dassault Aviation wants two contracts to be signed, one for the aircraft manufactured by it and another for the aircraft to be build by the HAL.
That apart, in the past, the French aircraft manufacturer has also expressed doubts over the technological and manufacturing capability of the HAL.