Rafale ..almost there

Laurent Fabius
Laurent Fabius

Unruffled by the last-ditch bids being made by countries like the US, UK, Germany and Sweden to wade into the “mother of all defence deals”, India is quietly continuing its final negotiations for acquiring 126 French Rafale fighters in the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project.

Defence ministry sources on Monday said another meeting of a sub-committee of the ongoing CNC (contract negotiation committee), which includes representatives from MoD, IAF, DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is slated to take place on July 17-19 in Bangalore with the French companies led by Dassault Aviation.

Once the project is finalized, the first 18 jets are to be delivered to IAF within 36-48 months, while the rest 108 will be manufactured by HAL with transfer of technology over the next seven years.With the final lap is sight, a lot of heat and dust is now being generated by the rivals earlier eliminated from the race after exhaustive technical and commercial evaluations since the MMRCA selection process began way back in August 2007.

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