India’s MRFA cutback is expected to improve Rafale’s chances

Indian defense ministry will be cutting down from the tender for 114 Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) to just 57 which will give a big boost to the French Dassault Rafale fighter jet that India already has acquired in its fleet. Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure and Dassault Aviation is been prepared for local manufacturing of license production of Rafale fighter jets in the country.

It will be in charge of the assembly line of Rafale jets in the country where jets will be assembled under kit transfer coming from the french facilities and suppliers that are already engaged in manufacturing the jet and are part of the supply chain. Instead of the earlier proposed model that required manufacturing of the jets in India from the Raw material stage that involved complex Transfer of Technology.

Indian defense ministry already has got ridden of offset clause and assembly of jets in the country from assembly kits will also keep the price under check. The French aircraft manufacturer Dassault is already in talks to buy out the stake of its partner Reliance in their joint venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited. Dassault is seeking a 100 percent ownership of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, as is permissible under Indian regulations, thus it will become a fully owned Dassault subsidiary.

This Facility could assemble two Rafale jets per month if Indian orders come through in the next few months. This Facility is already being upgraded to carry out Rafale fighter aircraft servicing center at its upcoming Facility at the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited at the Mihan Sez in Nagpur by end of 2022 or early 2023.

New Facility will cater to Indian Air Force and also to the South Asian customers in near future but the grounds are being prepared that could lead to the assembly of Rafale jets in India to meet export demands. Dassault is already sourcing Rafale engine, doors and pylons from India as part of its global supply chain for its Global Customers and more components will also be manufactured in India.

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