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Dassault Reports Rafale Progress In India


The training of Indian pilots and maintenance personnel in preparation for delivery of Rafale fighters is in progress in France, Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier told AIN in describing progress with the Indian air force contract for 36 Rafale fighters. He also commented on the latest Indian request for information (RFI) for more new fighters while visiting India as head of a delegation from the French Aerospace Industries Association (French acronym: GIFAS).  

In addition to the training in France, India is preparing a hangar at the Reliance Defence facility at Nagpur, where parts for the Rafale are being made, with deliveries to start this year. Dassault Aviation has started looking for more offset partners. Major subcontractors to the French manufacturer that have already tied up with Indian companies include engine maker Safran and Dassault Systèmes, providing 3D modeling and product lifecycle management (PLM) software. Thales announced last year it would develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain the radar and electronic warfare sensors at the Nagpur facility along with an Indian supply chain for manufacturing microwave technologies and high performance airborne electronics.

Currently, the Reliance Group's flagship company, Reliance Communications, is embroiled in court cases brought by minority shareholders, and stemming from its inability to repay lenders. The group has debts of $18 billion. A senior official at the Indian MoD has questioned the status of Reliance Defence, since the MoD’s Defense Procurement Policy is very strict on the credit rating of vendors. However, a Reliance official at the Nagpur facility told AIN: “The legal case has nothing to do with Reliance Defence, which is a part of [a separate] subsidiary, Reliance Infrastructure.”

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