India Withdraws Request for 126 Rafale Fighters From France

A Rafale fighter jet


India has withdrawn its request for 126 multirole Rafale fighters from France, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said Friday.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – Parrikar said in late May that New Delhi required only 36 Rafale fighter aircraft instead of the previously planned 126. A month earlier, the French and Indian leaders announced a scaling down of the 2012 contract on the supply of 126 jets.”The Request For Proposal (RFP) issued earlier for procurement of 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) has been withdrawn,” Parrikar said in a written reply to the Indian upper house of parliament.

He added that the Indian government intends to acquire 36 jets “in fly-away condition as quickly as possible.”

The multibillion dollar project has long been clouded by uncertainty due to high cost and French manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s unwillingness to guarantee the performance of ther aircraft licensed to be produced in India under transfer of technology agreements.

The terms of the latest deal include aircraft configurations, capable of reconnaissance and nuclear strike missions, to be tested and approved by India and a longer maintenance responsibility by France.

Last week, Parrikar said a government team has been set up to negotiate the terms and conditions of the Rafale contract.

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