From left to right: Mr. Ehab, Badawy, Egyptian Ambassador to France, Eric Trappier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Aviation and Major General Egyptian Armed Forces Ragaa Khalil. Photo Credit: Dassault Aviation.
Even after increasing production of the Rafale Fighter from the present 11 a year to three a month, Dassault may find it difficult to commit early deliveries to India.
While negotiations for the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft have commenced between the French and the Indian governments, Dassault is facing the challenge to scale up production within a relatively short time to fulfil its existing contracts with Egypt, Qatar and the French Air Force (FAF).
In addition, a 60 aircraft order with the UAE is being talked of; a deal Dassault executives are more buoyant about than the one they are negotiating with India.
Sources told Defenseworld.net correspondent that the Indian negotiations could see a closure within a month or two. The current price being talked about for the 36 aircraft is in the region of US$4.5 billion exclusive of the maintenance contract and the weapons suite.
Assuming that both sides come to an agreement by the end of the third quarter 2015, Dassault may not be in a position to start the Indian deliveries in the 2016-2017 timeframe as originally planned.
This fact came to light during a ceremony in Istres, France to hand over the first three Rafale fighters to Egypt last week. Several French media outlets quoting unnamed Dassault and French government officials stated that the increased production of three aircraft a month could roll off the assembly line earliest by the middle of 2018.
Regarding the ‘future orders, Dassault executives present at the hand over event talked to reporters about ‘a new contract in late 2015 to early 2016 for 60 aircraft with the UAE.
The French media is concerned about the impact of the committed deliveries to Egypt and Qatar on the FAF. Several reports stated that the deliveries to Egypt were made from the lot meant for the FAF which could be further impacted when the time comes to make additional deliveries to the two Arab nations.