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French aviation giant Dassault Aviation is making waves in the aerospace industry with its strategic manoeuvres aimed at enhancing its global footprint and maximizing the potential of its joint ventures. One of the most significant developments is Dassault Aviation’s exploration of the buyout of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence stake in their joint venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL).

The DRAL joint venture has been operating a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Nagpur, India, within the MIHAN Special Economic Zone. This facility has been engaged in the production of crucial components for the Rafale fighter jets, including engine doors and canopies. Now, Dassault Aviation is eyeing an expansion of its presence in India, with plans to utilize the Nagpur plant for the assembly of Rafale fighter jets themselves.

The bold vision to manufacture Rafale jets in India has been anchored in Dassault Aviation’s pursuit of the ambitious Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender by the Indian Air Force (IAF). If successful, this endeavour will not only elevate India’s aerospace capabilities but also transform the global supply chain dynamics. By delivering Made in India Rafale jets, Dassault aims to redefine timelines and streamline production, potentially allowing the first locally assembled Rafales to take to the skies as early as 2028, significantly ahead of the originally projected schedule.

Dassault’s enthusiasm for this venture is further evidenced by its aspirations to introduce advanced Rafale variants, such as the Rafale F4 and F5, by 2030. The aerospace behemoth is also championing a Government-to-Government deal that seeks a minimum purchase of 100 Rafale units. This strategic move aims to secure a consistent and substantial demand for Rafale jets, fostering a more predictable production cycle.

Beyond the production of fighter jets, Dassault’s vision encompasses the transformation of the Nagpur facility into a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) hub for Rafale aircraft.

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