What makes Dassault Rafale so special

36 Rafale fighter jets for India

After years of negotiations, India has ordered 36 French Rafale fighter jets. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Modi after a meeting with French President Fran├žois Hollande in Paris that India wanted to have "ready-to-fly models" delivered. France is the first stop on Modi's European tour, which is also expected in Germany from Sunday. Modi spoke of "excellent relations" with France and stated that the exact terms for the delivery of the 36 Rafale fighter jets have yet to be determined.

The volume of such a contract could amount to almost four billion euros, because the export price of a fighter aircraft is estimated at 110 million euros without weapons. At the joint press conference, Hollande also emphasized the close partnership between the two countries in all areas.

Continuing their negotiations in India: French President Hollande and his counterpart Modi

The first stop on the European trip was successful for India, as the Indian government has been negotiating exclusively with the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault about the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets, 108 of which are to be produced in India, since January 2012. The volume was then estimated at 20 billion dollars, which corresponds to around 18.4 billion euros. It remains unclear whether India will also produce technology parts for the 36 combat aircraft ordered or whether France will deliver the aircraft to India ready-made. India and France have now agreed to continue negotiations on the production of Rafale fighter jets in India, according to the Defense Ministry in Paris.

Shortly before Modi's visit to Paris, the Indian press had said that Modi was seeking a direct purchase of a few dozen Rafale from France in order to modernize the Indian armed forces' outdated aircraft fleet. Modi now made it clear that the 36 Rafale should be delivered as soon as possible because of an "essential operational need" of the Indian Army. Modi's talks also looked at the nuclear sector. Small progress was made for the French side in the intended sale of six new nuclear reactors of the EPR type to India. To this end, the French nuclear company Areva signed two agreements after it had signed a protocol for two of these European pressurized water reactors (EPR) in February 2009.

Rafale fighter jets have not been a successful business for a long time

Modi, who wanted to travel on to the European aerospace company Airbus in Toulouse in the south of France, was initially received at the headquarters of the French employers' association Medef. Modi wrote on his Facebook page that he wanted to strengthen the French involvement in the Indian program "Make in India".

Modi will then continue his promotion of European productions in his country in Germany. He opens the Hanover Fair with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and is expected in Berlin on Tuesday. With stronger growth than China, India is an interesting market for Western companies. This year, growth in the country should be eight percent.

The French Rafale fighter aircraft has been tried and tested through military operations in various crisis regions from Afghanistan to Mali to Iraq. The aircraft, which were commissioned by the French armed forces in 2004, are equipped, among other things, for air defense, strategic bombing and aerial reconnaissance tasks. The top speed of the combat aircraft is around 2200 kilometers per hour; The Rafale can even take off on a runway of 400 meters, i.e. from an aircraft carrier. The aircraft are mainly built by the French aviation group Dassault. For a long time he was unsuccessful with his aircraft on the international arms market. A contract for the export of Rafale fighter jets could - despite years of efforts - only be concluded with Egypt in February.

Pab / SC (dpa, afp)