India after confirming the possible deal with France to buy 36 ‘ready–to-fly’ Rafale fighter jets on Friday, will induct the jets into the Air Force within a span of two years, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.
“I have asked President (Francois Hollande) to supply 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets to India. The terms and conditions of the contract are yet to be finalized and officials from both sides would work out details,” PM Modi said at a news conference, after meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday.
The original plan was for India to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France's Dassault Aviation, with 108 others being assembled in India by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL in Bengaluru. Sources now say that if negotiations work out, India will buy 144 aircraft, 18 more than the original 126, ensuring that 108 jets will still be assembled at home.
India is ordering 36 off-the-shelf Rafale fighters to expedite the procurement process and provide the IAF two squadrons of the jets, sources said.
"There was a real operational need because India needs combat jets because a certain number of countries have been equipping themselves, so there was a desire to speed up the process," Dassault Chief Executive Eric Trappier told Europe 1 radio.
“In any case, the sale of these 36 aircraft is also a relief for public finances (French) because the state budget depended. A review clause of the military planning law imposes indeed to the French army to buy enough to turn the Rafale Merignac production line at a rate of 11 aircraft per year, if they do not export,” L’Express reported today.