The Indian Air Force (IAF) has so far received three Rafale fighter jets from the French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation. These three aircraft are being used to train pilots and technicians in France, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Naik said through a written reply to a question by T.N. Prathapan that the government has so far not recommended any company for the production of Rafale jets in India.
India entered into an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France and Dassault Aviation in September 2016 to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition from the French aircraft maker at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
"The Performance Audit Report of CAG on Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force presented in Parliament on February 13, 2019 has brought out that the entire package price of the 36 Rafale procurement is 2.86% lower than the Audit Aligned price compared to MMRCA process, Naik stated in the reply.
"That CAG report has also brought out that Non-Firm & Fixed (F&F) bid as done in the 36 Rafale IGA may be more advantageous than Firm & Fixed offer," he stated.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had formally received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets in Merignac, France on the occasion of Dussehra on October 8.
Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had said soon after taking over as the IAF Chief that the first Rafale jets will be seen in Indian skies only in May 2020 by when pilots will be sufficiently trained to fly the advanced fighter jets.
As per the delivery schedule, India will receive the first 18 Rafale jets by February 2021. By April-May 2022 Dassault will hand over all 36 jets to India.