In one of the largest offsets deals in India’s defence space, potentially valued at some Rs 30,000 crore ($4.5 billion), Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group on Monday announced a new venture with Dassault Aviation of France, the makers of Rafale fighters and Falcon business jets.
The Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture will be the key player in executing the offsets obligations, as a part of India’s purchase agreement for 36 Rafale fighter jets valued at 7.87 billion euros (nearly $9 billion or Rs 59,000 crore), signed with France last month, a company statement said.
“This is a transformational moment for Indian Aerospace sector and for Reliance Infrastructure’s subsidiary Reliance Aerospace,” said Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani.
Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO, said the new venture illustrated his company’s commitment towards developing strategic industrial partnerships under the “Make in India” policy of the Indian government.
The 50 per cent offsets obligation of the Indo-French deal is touted as the largest ever for India. The contract comes during the centennial year of Dassault.
According to the company statement, Dassault Reliance Aerospace, besides promoting Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ policies, will also develop major Indian programmes with high levels of technology-transfer to benefit the entire aerospace sector in the country.
The partnership will also focus on promoting research and development projects under the Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured programme — a new initiative of India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Dassault, till date, has delivered more than 8,000 military and civil aircraft to more than 90 countries over the past 60 years, with nearly 28 million flight hours. It reported revenues of 4.20 billion euros last year.
After much negotiations and deliberations, India and France last week signed the agreement for 36 Rafales, the Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft. The original tender was for 126 fighters. Defence Minister Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the pact.
The first fighter plane agreement in about two decades was inked almost 16 months after Prime Minister Modi announced India’s decision to buy the jets during his visit to France in April last year.
Dassault first established itself in India after the sale of Mirage 2000. Its Rafale was chosen by India in 2012, following a competitive bidding process that was initiated in 2007. It was inducted by the French Navy in 2004 and then in 2006 by the French Air Force.
As on 30 June 2016, 152 Rafale aircraft had been delivered.