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Dassault Aviation, the French aerospace giant, is gearing up for a major offensive in the Indian defense market with a comprehensive campaign aimed at securing both the Indian Navy’s 26-jet Rafale M deal and the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) much larger Medium Range Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender.

Dassault is close to finalizing a deal for 26 Rafale M fighter jets for the Indian Navy, which will operate from the country’s aircraft carriers. This, combined with the IAF’s existing fleet of 36 Rafales, will bring India’s total to a formidable 62, further solidifying Dassault’s presence in the country.

The MRFA tender is a massive opportunity for Dassault, with India seeking to procure 114 fighter jets. To sweeten the deal, Dassault plans to make India a global hub for the Rafale, not just assembling the jets but also exporting them to other countries. This ambitious plan includes opening a second production line in India and establishing a dedicated ecosystem for spare parts and component manufacturing.

Dassault also envisions a future where India upgrades and overhauls its Rafale fleet domestically. The company is already working with French engine manufacturer Safran to set up an advanced MRO facility for the Rafale M’s M88 engines within India. This facility, slated to be operational in 2024, will not only handle routine maintenance but also conduct major overhauls, marking a significant step towards India’s defense self-reliance.

Dassault’s ambitious plans for India are not just about securing lucrative contracts. The company genuinely believes that India, with its skilled workforce and growing defense appetite, has the potential to become a major player in the global aerospace industry. By partnering with India, Dassault hopes to tap into this potential and create a mutually beneficial partnership that will propel both countries forward in the years to come.

Dassault’s proposal is certainly ambitious, and its success will hinge on several factors, including the Indian government’s evaluation of the MRFA bids, the finalization of the Navy deal, and the smooth execution of the MRO facility project. However, if Dassault can pull it off, it could be a game-changer for both India and the French aviation giant, paving the way for a long and fruitful collaboration.

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