Our sister magazine Air&Cosmos talked to Dassault CEO Eric Trappier during Aero India 2017 about the company’s objectives in India. Some excerpts:
On Indian perspectives, following the signature by New Delhi of a contract for 36 Rafale fighters:
“This contract is the result of a lot of hard work. Declarations by the Indian Air Force over the past several years, along with recent declarations by the minister of defence, including here at the show, show that the Indian requirement is substantial.
We want to follow on with additional contracts. Whether for the Indian Air Force or perhaps for the Indian Navy, which recently issued a request for information for fighters for its current and future aircraft carriers.
In that respect, the Rafale has a unique advantage over all its competitors worldwide. It was designed from the outset to equip the French Air Force and to operate from the French Navy aircraft carrier.
So all its characteristics and its multirole capabilities place it in a very favourable position to meet this Indian requirement. It is the only aircraft in the world able to do so. The F-18 has only been designed for naval aviation, whereas the Rafale has been designed for air forces and naval aviation. This is a huge advantage. Moreover, the air force and navy versions are practically identical.
So I think that these initial 36 aircraft should be seen as the first in a long line. And that is why we are investing in India, so that we can be present in this country, with our own production facilities.
These different contracts create work in France but also in India. It’s a real win-win strategy for both countries.”