The Indian Air Force (IAF) selected the Dassault Rafale as its new multi-role fighter after a lengthy selection process in early 2012. The competition was fierce and the French Manufacturer was delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder. Shortly after this Rupees 60,000 crore deal was announced by the IAF, Dassault signaled that a deal with Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) that would be highly beneficial as far as local manufacturing of the advanced fourth-generation fighter’s components was concerned. Now, many months after the intent, RIL and Dassault are likely to collaborate on the manufacture of the multi-role fighter’s wings.
The IAF has a deal for a total of 126 fighters with 18 of them to be brought in fly-away condition from France. However, the remaining 108 planes will be manufactured in India and this is where RIL comes in. Looking forward to high-quality local manufacturing with no compromise in quality the French and Indian industry giants are planning to set up an Rs 1,000-crore facility for producing the wings of the combat aircraft and it is most likely to come up in Bangalore. The plan is that RIL would create factories and an assembly line similar to the facility in Southern France. Also, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) paving the way for a private company in the air superiority and air combat sector is a landmark development.
Dassault originally wanted RIL to be in charge of the actual manufacturing of the aircraft in India. However, this proved to be a roadblock as the IAF tender had specified Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the executioner of the aircraft’s assembly in India. However, with clearance from the MoD and the IAF, RIL is keen to begin production of the advanced fourth-generation fighter’s wings.