Air Force Chief reference of ” Rafale Class ” contradicts what Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat said in an interview in New Delhi that IAF is willing to go for LCA-Tejas instead of 114 jets under a tender for foreign fighter jet manufactures specific reference to the Dassault Rafale under Make in India initiate also confirms that Rafale is still the front runner and IAF is not willing to substitute Rafale purchase with locally developed LCA-Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 platforms.

Earlier this year, the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault was in talks to buy out the stake of its partner Reliance in their joint-venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL). Reliance Infrastructure which holds the majority shares of 51:49 in JV and Dassault wanted to buy 100 percent ownership of DRAL, as is permissible under Indian regulations.

It looked like Dassault was preparing grounds to manufacture Rafale fighter jets locally before the Chinese virus situation emerged in the country. IAF chief just confirmed that the Chinese virus and economic situations in the country have not dented IAF’s plan for procuring 114 jets from a foreign vendor.

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