IAF hopeful of Rafale deal this year
With contract negotiations on in full swing, the Indian Air Force is hopeful that a multibilliondollar deal for 126 Rafale fighters will be signed before the end of this financial year. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, in Bangalore, said, “Negotiations are on. We should be able to finish the contract this financial year. It is a complex process. We are discussing offsets, transfer of technology, HAL’s role and the cost. It is progressing well.” The Air Chief’s words will come as comfort to Dassault Aviation at a time when there has been some speculation about Eurofighter making an effort to get back into the competition. Any reopening of the competition has been categorically ruled out by the MoD and IAF at this time. The MoD recently said that its officials were not in discussion — official or unofficial — with any company other than Dassault, in an attempt to quell speculation that Eurofighter and Rosoboronexport had both said that they were in discussions with the MoD and had reason to believe that the MMRCA competition could be rebooted. According to sources, negotiations with Dassault are progressing smoothly, even though there are several points that still need clarification. Sources in Dassault said they were confident that a deal would be signed before the year was out.