France will not warranty Indian-built aircraft
After months of seeing Dassault Aviation being browbeaten in the Indian press, French arms procurement agency DGA defended its contractor, asserting that a 2012 agreement to provide India with Rafale fighter jets never committed the company to guarantee aircraft manufactured in India at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). However, a recent senior adviser to HAL’s management tells Aviation Week that guaranteeing HAL’s work is not the issue, but that the French are being “rigid” and refusing to stand behind the integrity of the design.
“Dassault will not be responsible for the whole contract. It is a co-management setup,” says French defense procurement chief Laurent Collet-Billon, who was clear that France will not assume full liability for HAL-built Rafales. “It cannot be a problem, because it was not in the request for proposals [RFP].”
Speaking to reporters during an annual media address Feb. 9, France’s arms procurement chief said the €10.2 billion ($12 billion) agreement—which has been under negotiation for more than three years—calls for the first 18 of 126 Rafale jets to be built in France. After that, HAL would take over production of the remaining 108 aircraft.