French company Dassault Aviation’s Rafale on Tuesday bagged a $10.4 billion deal to supply 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) to the Indian Air Force (IAF). Sources said the process to determine the L1 (lowest bidder) is over and the final contract is expected to be signed next fiscal.
IAF will buy the first 18 aircraft off the shelf while the other 118 will be manufactured in partnership with an Indian company. “Further negotiations will take place later,” sources said.
Rafale outclassed the Eurofighter Typhoon to bag the deal. The Eurofighter bid was backed by four partner nations — Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. On November 4 last year, the defence ministry opened the commercial bids of the two firms remaining in the race. The others did not meet the technical qualifications.
The IAF had invited bids from military aviation majors to supply 126 MMRCA for which there were six contenders — Russia’s MIG-35, USA’s F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin), F-18 Hornet (Boeing), Swedish Saab Gripen, European EADS EuroFighter Typhoon and Rafale.
The Rafale is twin-engine jet, configured for multi-role operations, including air defence, ground attack and reconnaissance. The plane can deliver nine tonnes of bombs and also fire a range of missiles.