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'HAL will be 'main partner' in Rafale aircraft deal'

February 07, 2013 18:58 IST

Identifying Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as its "’main partner’ in the multirole combat aircraft deal, France's Dassault Aviation today said it will set up a joint venture company with Reliance Industries to work on the $10 billion Rafale project.

It said the HAL is the ‘main partner’ of the French firm in the Indian contract, which is one of the biggest aircraft deals in the world. The French company's Rafale fighter aircraft was shortlisted by India last year.

“We have a special partnership with Reliance company. It as a private company wants to be in defence sector and we are supporting this partnership.We will create JV company with Reliance in India,"

Dassault' Chief Executive Officer Eric Trappier told PTI in Bangalore. The French firm said the Joint Venture company would be set up after the deal is signed and expressed the hope that it would be signed within this year itself.

The company would be working with several private and public sector companies in India for completing the contract needs, Trappier said.

Asked about reports over Dassault seeking a bigger role for any Indian company in the production phase of the aircraft, he said there was ‘no confusion’ on the issue and that his company was free to decide on its partners as stated by the Indian Air Force and the defence ministry.

The Dassault CEO said RIL would be its partner and would help it in managing a supply chain and project management of the programme and ‘they will help us to be in India’.

Dassault Aviation's Rafale aircraft was shortlisted by India early last year as it choice for procuring 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft. The French fighter had edged out five other aircraft including American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG 35 and European Eurofighter to bag the contract.

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