Dassault Aviation has said that it may decrease production of the Rafale aircraft if the deal to sell 36 aircraft to India does not materialize this year.
“The ball is not in my court, ball is in hands of the Indian authorities”, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation was quoted as saying at the EBACE business aircraft show in Geneva yesterday.
This is perhaps the first pessimistic statement from the Dassault CEO who has all along been upbeat about the prospects of securing the 36 aircraft Indian deal despite the delay in arriving at a contract.
The Dassault CEO was answering questions from media representatives as to the delay in signing the Indian contract. Ouest-france.fr which quoted Trappier also paraphrased his quote stating that the manufacturer may slowly decrease production of the Rafale to return to a monthly rate of one per month.
However, Indian Defense minister Manohar Parrikar was quoted as saying by Indian Express during the course of an interview, referring to the rafale deal, “Probably we are close to a final position, which may happen anytime soon.”
Dassault has two international orders on hand, one from Egypt and another from Qatar for 24 aircraft each, an order it expects to fulfil in 3-4 years. For this it has ramped production to two per month.
In another development, Early last month, for reasons that are not clear, former director general defense acquisition Smita Nagaraj was involuntarily placed on leave over differences with MoD leaders over Rafale negotiations, Defense News reported.
Dassault’s latest offer to sell 36 rafale fighter jets to India is $8.56 billion. The price is a cut from the earlier price of $8.8 billion France offered in April last week.
“The effort is to bring down the price to less than Euros 8 billion (US $8.94 billion),” Economic Times quoted unnamed sources as saying.