France and India have signed a tentative intergovernmental agreement for the sale of 36 French-built Rafale fighter jets within the next month, the aircraft builder Dassault Aviation said in a press release on Monday. While the final costs have not yet been finalized, India should expect to pay anything between $94 million to $108 million for each unit, meaning the deal could come in near to $4 billion, which does not include upgrades, logistical support or training.
“During French President François Hollande's visit to India, French and Indian government authorities signed an intergovernmental agreement paving the way for the conclusion of a contract for the sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India,” Dassault said in the statement. “Dassault Aviation is very pleased with this progress and is actively supporting French authorities in their efforts to finalize a complete agreement within the next four weeks.”
Hollande was in India to attend an Indian-French business summit in the northern city of Chandigarh.
Dassault, which is also finalizing a deal with the United Arab Emirates for 60 Rafale fighters worth an estimated $10 billion, will increase its production of Rafale fighter jets from one a month to three by the end of 2018, underlining the popularity of multirole aircraft.
The Indian military is also trying to finalize a deal with Russia for its new PAK FA (T-50) fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, but has cooled on the deal recently, citing problems with the $10 billion price tag. Moscow is stalling on a deal for its advanced S-400 missile system until India makes a decision.
India wants the Russian missile system to fill a gap in its defense while it continues to develop its own system, which may take two to three years. As things stand, India has no protection against ballistic missiles or stealth aircraft, which the S-400 is supposed to be able to beat.