New Delhi: India has issued a request to the French government for buying 26 Rafale-Marine fighter jets. A detailed letter of request (LoR) has been issued by the defence ministry to the French Directorate General of Armaments for the proposed deal.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, had already approved proposals to procure 26 Rafale-Marine fighter jets and three Scorpene diesel-electric submarines for the Indian Navy.
The ministry said that DAC granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of 26 Rafale-Marine fighter jets along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French government through an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA).
The price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries, it added.
Further, the integration of Indian-designed equipment and establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) Hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents in due negotiations.
It will include 22 single-seat jets and four twin-seat trainers, along with weapons, simulator, spares, crew training and logistics support, sources said. According to the defence experts, France should respond with its offer, pricing and other details in a couple of months.
Once the contract is inked after the cost negotiations and the Cabinet Committee on Security’s final nod, deliveries will begin in three years. The LoR for the government-to-government deal, which involves off-the-shelf procurement of the Dassault Aviation-manufactured jets, comes soon after defence minister Rajnath Singh visited France on October 10.