NEW DELHI — In an expected move, the Indian government has directed the Indian Navy to undertake detailed briefings with from Dassault Aviation regarding the of France on Rafale aircraft.
An Indian Defence Ministry source in the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the government wants is now wanting commonalities between logistics and spares for fighters with the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
A detailed briefing on Rafale aircraft for the Indian Navy is planned here for Jan. 29, he said, but here, he added. He, however declined to comment if India will buy Rafales fighters for the Indian Navy as well.
A n Indian Navy official said the service needs 54 fighter aircraft but refused to say if Rafale has been shortlisted.
Meanwhile, French Resident President Francois Hollande will arrive in India Jan. 24 along with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to sign the protocol agreement (an inter-governmental agreement ) on purchase of 36 Rafales aircraft and a formal agreement will be signed in New Delhi Jan. 25.
Last week, India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval flew to Paris to give final approval footprint on the protocol agreement and to finalize the offsets and weapon package. in the protocol agreement on Rafale fighters.
Besides providing 36 Rafale fighters over three years, Dassault Aviation will also set up new facilities for Rafale aircraft at two separate Indian Air Force bases.
The MoD source added that the entire deal, including weapons package, would cost over $9 billion. But he gave no time frame when the final contract will be signed.
The governments of India and France have been working on the Rafale deal since April last year under which France will also provide an offset of under 50 percent. in offsets.
Funding of the 36 Rafale fighters deal in three years will be a big challenge, said another MoD source.
The funding time line has not been decided yet, he added.
The Indian MoD is also drafting new penalty guidelines under which on Rafale deal and the French defense companies involved in the deal will have to pay penalties if spares are not available or in case of unavailability of spares and unsatisfactory performance is unsatisfactory.