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French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation SA is making a strategic move in the Indian market. The company is reportedly acquiring land near Jewar International Airport for a dedicated Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility to service India’s Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter jets.

This development comes alongside Safran SA, the engine manufacturer for Rafale, establishing a similar MRO facility specifically for Rafale engines at their existing LEAP engine facility in Hyderabad. This facility, expected to be operational by 2025, caters to civilian aircraft but could potentially handle Rafale engine needs if the numbers justify it.

The establishment of these MRO facilities aligns perfectly with India’s growing reliance on French fighter jets. The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates 36 Rafale jets, and the Indian Navy also plans to procure 26 Rafale M fighters for aircraft carrier operations. These facilities will provide crucial support for maintaining the current fleet and any future additions.

Looking ahead, the IAF is actively pursuing the procurement of 114 Medium Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) through a tender process. Rafale is considered a frontrunner in this race, and the presence of a dedicated MRO facility could further strengthen Dassault’s position.

Overall, these developments signify a deepening partnership between India and France in the defense sector. The MRO facilities will ensure efficient maintenance of India’s Rafale and Mirage 2000 fleets, bolstering the country’s airpower capabilities.

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