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India to acquire 36 French fighter jets
September 24, 2016, 12:39 pm

Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighter is a multi-role aircraft that will boost India's air force capabilities [Xinhua]

Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter is a multi-role aircraft that will boost India’s air force capabilities [Xinhua]


India has signed an $8.8 billion deal to acquire 36 new multi-role Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault, in what is the country’s largest defense purchase in decades.

Indian Defense minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the deal on Friday; the first of the jets are scheduled to be delivered by 2019.

This deal, which has been in the works for the past four years, work’s to Delhi’s favor because it allows the provision that the fighter jets will be customized according to India’s requests.

India’s aging fleet is down to 33 squadrons, coming up short against a requirement of 45 to face off long-time rivals Pakistan and China, with which it has an aggravated border dispute.

The deal comes in tandem with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vow to modernize India’s armed forces with a hefty $150 billion allowance.

French President Francois Hollande lauded the deal and said: “The agreement… shows the great military and strategic power’s recognition of operational performance, technological quality and competitiveness of the French aero space industry.”

Local media in India, citing defense officials, said the deal includes the delivery of advanced Beyond Visual Range and air to ground missile systems.

According to the deal, France will also provide logistical support, spare parts, and flight simulators.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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