Rajesh Dhingra, CEO Dassault Reliance Aerospace (DRAL) while speaking to Moneycontrol has confirmed that the upcoming DRAL facility in Nagpur will become operational by January 2018 and the company will be able to deliver first made in India manufactured Rafale fighter jets from its Nagpur facility within three years of receiving an order.

Dassault has received orders for 36 Rafale fighter jets from India till now and ordered aircrafts will be manufactured in France. DRAL facilities will largely cater to any follow-up orders which India might place in future.

When questioned on the possibility of further orders, Dhingra said that original requirement or 126 jets came down to 36 jets and there is still a requirement for 100 jets more and also pointed out to Indian Navy’s requirement for 57 Carrier borne fighter jets for which Rafale fighter jets are in the race.

India has plans to float separate tender for IAF’s Twin-engined fighter jet requirement and Dhingra believes that this will give Rafale fighter jets edge because DRAL already has facility ready to manufacture them and deliver the first aircraft in three years while competitors will require three years to set up a manufacturing unit and another three years to start delivering the first aircraft .

Ministry of Defence is under considerable pressure to quickly place orders for follow-on orders for Rafale fighter jets both from the French government and Indian Air Force who are keen on increasing initial order from 36 to 60 + jets in coming years.

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