Ahead of the conclusion of the financial negotiations in the MMRCA deal, Dassault has pulled out all stops in raising its sales pitch to the Indian government.
Showcasing its full might, the Rafale is participating for the first time in the Garuda V exercises against the Indian Air Force’s Su-30s.
“The Rafale is like a Swiss knife — it can do everything,” said France’s ambassador Francois Richier told reporters.
Adding to the sales pitch will be France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, who is scheduled to visit New Delhi later this month to also seek to push a wide array of business deals with the Narendra Modi government, including the contract for the 126 Rafale aircraft.
According to local media reports, the final commercial negotiations are expected to be wrapped up within the next three months.
"With offsets, work-share, warranty, liquidity damages and other issues resolved, the CNC (contract negotiation committee) now has to settle the final costs before the draft contract can be readied for the government's final approval," sources told the Times of India.
The report also said that the work of three subcommittees dealing with technical maintenance (IAF will fly the fighters for 40 years), offsets (Dassault will have to plough back 50% of the contract value back into India) and transfer of technology (ToT) has now been completed.
India can expect to receive the first 18 jets from mid-2016 if Dassault and New Delhi sign the deal in the next few months. The remaining 108 aircraft will be built by HAL which will begin rolling out the jets from 2018 onwards. HAL will initially deliver six jets per year, which will go up to 20 per year later.
Meanwhile, French Air Force pilots shared with Indian fighter pilots at the Jodhpur air force station their experience in Operation Harmattan, the air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, and Op Mountezouma against militants in the African country Mali in 2012.