French aircraft maker, Dassault Aviation has confirmed that it is in talks with Malaysia for the sale of 18 Rafale fighter jets.
"Dassault is in talks with Malaysia for their 18 aircraft requirement. We are also looking for a second contract with India," Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation made the comments during an interview with a French regional newspaper, Sud-Ouest Sunday.
Trappier said that the company will soon conclude a fourth contract of Rafale jets abroad, but will only be confirmed in 2018. So far, India has ordered 36, Egypt and Qatar have ordered for 24 Rafale fighters each.
Malaysia had earlier denied that it has short-listed Dassault and Eurofighter for its multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) competition, keeping hopes alive for other contenders such as Gripen.
“We still are not ready for a decision, but we take note of Rafale’s success in other nations,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had said during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande in Kuala Lumpur in March this year.
Malaysia’s defence minister Hishamuddin Hussain had squashed reports that the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon had been shortlisted for the Malaysian air force’s multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) requirement.
Asked if the ministry would settle for Eurofighter Typhoon by BAE Systems or the Rafale by Dassault Aviation, he had said the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen “are still in the running”.