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IAF Prepares For PM Modi, French Defence Minister At Rafale Induction Ceremony

  • The air force if planning for a high-profile Rafale induction ceremony which may include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French defence minister Florence Parly at the air force station in Ambala where the first five aircraft have been stationed.
  • Sources said that preparations are on for a formal ceremony that is likely to take place in the coming weeks though a final date has not been decided on. The five Rafale jets are being integrated into the air force ecosystem and have already proven their mettle with successful weapons firing at a test range after arrival.
  • French defence minister Parly, who had earlier pledged support for India as the China crisis unfolded and had requested for a bilateral visit, is likely to be part of the formal ceremony at Ambala, sources said.
  • While the first batch of Rafales arrived at Ambala on July 29, the air force had said that a final induction ceremony is planned in the second half of August and that efforts are focused on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest.
  • The French side is also likely to raise the possibility of a larger order for the Rafale fighter jets under the Make in India initiative. Sources said that a proposal for creating a new production line for Rafale fighter jets in India could be on the table.
  • Given new foreign direct investment (FDI) relaxations that will allow foreign companies to have a 74% stake in defence entities, the French side is believed to have an interest in investing in setting up a new production line, if a sufficient order book is available.
  • While India has ordered 36 Rafale jets as an off the shelf purchase, sources said that an economically viable production line could be set up if there is an assured order for at least 100 more aircraft, besides options to cater to the export market.
Rafale
  • While India has ordered 36 Rafale jets as an off the shelf purchase, sources said that an economically viable production line could be set up if there is an assured order for at least 100 more aircraft, besides options to cater to the export market.
  • As reported by ET earlier, the assessment is that additional orders for the Rafale jets could cost considerably lesser than the Euro 7.8 billion paid for the first batch of 36 aircraft as fixed costs for training, creating infrastructure, and making India-specific enhancements have been taken care of.
  • The air force is also progressing on a medium fighter jet acquisition programme under the strategic partnership (SP) model to acquire 114 aircraft. The competitive process—with suitors from the US, Russia, France, and Sweden—is yet to fully kick-off but the air force is keen to ensure that an entire transfer of technology takes place as part of the Make in India initiative.

Also Read – 7 Secret Chinese Military Air Bases Under Close Watch Of Indian Agencies

Source
ET

Girish Chandra

Army Brat, Spiritual, Defence Enthusiast, Passionate teacher, B.Tech in Automobile Engineering, Cleared AFCAT & CDS

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