Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dassault Aviation’s Rafale Fighter Jets Hogged Global Limelight In 2020 But Failed To Secure Any Deal

Despite its immense popularity, Dassault Aviation has not secured any new deal for the Rafale fighter jet in 2020. The French company has revealed that it completed its delivery target for 2020 with the export of 13 Rafale fighter jets to India and Qatar despite the COVID 19 restrictions but secured no new deals.

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The company‘s deliveries were less in 2020, as compared to 26 the previous year. As reported by The EurAsian Times earlier, in 2019, Dassault Aviation Group had made it to the top 25 arms companies across the globe due to an exponential increase in the export deliveries of Rafale combat aircraft to India, Qatar, and Egypt.

As of December 31, 2020, the company has a backlog of 62 Rafale fighter jets, compared to 75 in 2019. India had inducted five Rafales into the Indian Air Force’s 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ at Ambala Air Force Station on September 10.

The aviation company will complete the deliveries of all 36 fighter jets to India by 2022. Qatar, the French air force, and the navy are also awaiting deliveries for their orders.

No New Buyers

The company has maintained it has not received new orders for the multi-role fighter jets but reports in November 2020 had stated that Greece would receive 12 second-hand and six new Rafales after France approved the sale of 18 fighters to Greece in a deal worth €1.7 billion.

Rafale-vs-Rafale

Among other potential buyers of the fighter jet are Indonesia, Finland, and Switzerland. In October 2020, Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto had reaffirmed his interest in buying Rafales and French Defense Minister Florence Parly had confirmed the deal was in a very “advanced” stage.

Dassault Wants to Invest in India

Reports suggest that the French aviation company is keen to invest more in India.  Citing sources,  ThePrint reported that Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President, who is on a visit to India, will be making the pitch for the French government’s offer for local manufacturing of the fighter jets. The sources said they would be interested if the number is closer to 100.

In October 2020, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had indicated that decision to get more Rafales might be under consideration but the report says a deal for additional jets would be made after the delivery of all 36 jets.

India has acquired the fighter jets through a government-to-government deal made in 2016 at a cost of $8.7 billion. The first batch of fighter jets has been deployed in Ladakh where India is locked in a border standoff with China.

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