Mumbai, Oct 8: Dassault Aviation of France is planning a Rafale Assembly Line in India with an eye on the Indian Navy and Air Force orders.
According to sources close to the development, India can soon become the first country to produce a 4.5-generation fighter aircraft without being an Original Equipment Manufacturer or the OEM.
Dassault has a current backlog of close to 200 Rafales which includes outstanding deliveries for existing orders of 80 aircraft for UAE, 42 for Indonesia, 12 for Croatia, Egypt 54, Greece 24, Qatar 36 and potentially 26 for the Indian Navy.
The sources further revealed that with its current capacity limited to 24 aircraft per year, there is a strong case for Dassault to establish an additional production line at its joint venture, DRAL in India.
India is a big market and the Indian Air Force is looking at purchasing 114 fighter aircraft. RFP for this is expected in the next six months.
This will be one of the largest orders for fighters anywhere in the world. Indian Naval order for 26 aircraft is also expected to be finalised within the next six months with deliveries starting in 2027.
Sources said that the Rafale manufacturing line at DRAL, MIHAN SEZ Nagpur will see an additional half a million square feet infrastructure spread over 4 hangars, with production starting in 2028.
Annual capacity is planned at 24 aircraft per year or two aircraft per month. At an anticipated price of Rs 1,000 crore per aircraft in 2028, it will translate into Rs 24,000 crore sales per annum.
This will require an additional investment of close to Rs 3,000 crore.
In terms of employment opportunities, DRAL will have more than 600 personnel to meet the requirements of the final assembly line for Falcon 2000. With Rafale, this could go past the 1,200 mark.