New Delhi: Anil Dhirubhai Ambani-led Reliance Group has formed a joint venture with French-aircraft maker Dassault Aviation SA to benefit from the local manufacturing requirements under the recently signed Rs.59,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal.
The Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture will be a key player in the “execution of offset obligations” as a part of the 36 Rafale fighter jets signed between France and India on 23 September 2016, Reliance said in a statement on Monday.
Under India’s so-called offsets policy, Dassault will have to procure Indian-manufactured products equivalent to 50% of the deal to help domestic defence manufacturing.
That is what the new joint venture plans to undertake.
“The formation of this joint venture with Reliance Aerospace led by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group illustrates our strong commitment to establish ourselves in India and to develop strategic industrial partnerships under the “Make in India” policy promoted by the Indian government,” said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation chairman & chief executive officer.
“We are delighted to partner a world leader in aviation like Dassault Aviation, and a visionary leader like Eric Trappier. This is a transformational moment for the Indian Aerospace sector and for Reliance Infrastructure’s subsidiary Reliance Aerospace”, said Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Group.
Rafale has been used by the French armed forces in combat operations for more than a decade. It entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006. Some of the 152 planes delivered so far have been used in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.
These combat aircraft, delivery of which are expected to start in 36 months and be completed in 66 months from the time of signing of the contract, comes equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’. With the air-to-air Meteor missiles, Indian Air Force will be able to hit targets as far as 150km away, compared with 80km it has so far been capable of targeting. Scalp, an air-to-ground cruise missile with a range in excess of 300km, will also gives the IAF an edge over its adversaries.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar indicated last week that the jets, which were earlier expected after 36 months may start flying before that deadline.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.