Negotiations on the cost, technical and commercial details of India's planned purchase of 26 Rafale-M fighter jets and three Scorpene submarines from France are continuing, sources said on Tuesday.
Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and French giant Naval Group confirmed a framework agreement on July 6 for the Scorpene submarine project, but negotiations on pricing and other technical details have yet to take place, according to the sources.
Regarding the purchase of the Rafale-M, the alternative to the seaplane, the sources said that the deal will end after the completion of technical and commercial negotiations. The general expansion of defense cooperation between India and France, in particular the joint development and production of large military platforms, is one of the outcomes of negotiations between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The sources said that the decision of the two parties to jointly develop fighter engines with the French defense establishment Saffron in India will be driven by the needs of the Indian armed forces.
While the existing F-414 engine will be jointly produced by GE Aerospace in India, the engine designed and developed by Safran will be based on India's requirements, they said, noting that it will be an entirely new engine.
GE Aerospace's contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force was announced during Modi's visit to Washington last month.
"There are differences between the two projects," said one source, suggesting that the Indo-French engine development program is much larger than that of the F414. French company Dassault Aviation, which specializes in the aerospace industry and manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, said last week that the Indian government had announced the selection of a type of seaplane to provide the Indian Navy with the latest generation of aircraft. The Defense Purchase Board chaired by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on July 13 approved the purchase of 26 Rafale-M submarines and three Scorpene-class submarines from France. The joint document released on July 14 after talks between Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron did not mention the purchase of Rafale jets.
A draft document released last night by the State Department (DSE) concerns an agreement to purchase three Scorpene-class submarines.
However, this section is not included in the updated version.
People familiar with the matter say the joint document posted on the ministry's website has been approved by both countries, and the text itself can be found on the French site. It appears that some transcripts of the talks have already been posted on the ministry's website. Someone said it was just an incoherent text. A source said: "Technical trade details and price negotiations are still ongoing."
Under Project 75 for the Indian Navy, six Scorpene-class submarines have been built in India by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in association with Naval Group of France.
MDL is also building three more submarines in India.
According to the Horizon 2047 document, talks between Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron focused on defense cooperation on "breakthroughs" in advanced aviation technology by supporting the joint development of engines for combat aircraft.
“In line with their excellent working relationship in military aviation spanning more than five decades, India and France welcome the timely delivery of Rafale-36s ordered by India,” he said. "In the future, India and France will expand their pioneering defense cooperation in the field of advanced aviation technologies, and support the joint development of fighter jet engines," he added. It says the two sides will also support industrial cooperation in the field of operating heavy helicopters under the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) program with Safran engines. “In order to ensure the development of the IMRH programme, a joint venture engine development agreement has been entered into between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Indian Helicopter Engine and Safran, France,” he said.
The joint document said that India and France hailed the success of the program to build the first submarine of the Scorpene class (P75 - Calvary) and the "Made in India" model and the exchange of maritime expertise between the two companies. "India and France are ready to consider more ambitious projects for the development and characteristics of India's submarine fleet," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)