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French bid to re-enter race for combat aircraft

Fighter plane Rafale. File Photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): A high-level delegation from France will meet officials in the Defence Ministry on Friday, to make a strong bid for Rafale which is back in contention for the 126 Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft India seeks to acquire.

The delegation headed by Jacques Lajugi, Head of France’s Air International Development will call on Defence Secretary Vijay Singh to explore the possibility of re-entering the race of five other manufacturers from the United States, Sweden, Russia and Europe, The Hindu quoting sources in the Ministry said.

According to the paper, Rafale was among the six manufacturers that had responded to India’s Request for Proposal but it was eliminated from the race as it failed in the technical evaluations.

However, the Defence Procurement Board had not studied the report of the committee. The questions largely related to equipment and other add-ons that the user wanted to have, but not provided by the manufacturer, it said.

The committee report making such a recommendation was based on the response of the French company Dassault, which makes Rafale, it said, adding, that since the recommendation of the evaluation committee was made, the French manufacturer has provided necessary information that the Indian Air Force had sought.

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