Yesterday, Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, hosted the handover ceremony of the first Indian Air Force Rafale in Mérignac, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale final assembly facility. The event was placed under the high patronage of the Honourable Shri Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence of India and the Honourable Ms. Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France.
The ceremony, 3 years after the signature of the contract in 2016 for the acquisition of 36 Rafale to equip the Indian Air Force, marks the concretization of the strategic relationship between India and France and the celebration of the history of mutual trust between India and Dassault Aviation for more than 65 years.
The handover of the first IAF Rafale, materializes the determination of the French Authorities to fulfill the expectations and needs of the Government of India to comfort India’s protection and sovereignty and illustrates the exemplary cooperation between Dassault Aviation and the Indian Air Force, one of the most remarkable partner Dassault Aviation’s has ever worked with.
The setup of the Dassault Reliance JV (DRAL) production facility in Nagpur as well as the significant support of the educational and scientific policy of the Indian Government through the establishing of an engineering center in Pune, the creation of the “Dassault Skill Academy“ and the implementation of a vocational training programme “Aeronautical Structure and Equipment Fitter“, demonstrate Dassault Aviation full commitment to the “Make in India“ and “Skill India“ initiatives in building the foundations for a national aerospace and defence ecosystem to become a worldwide reference of the sector.
Supported by Dassault Aviation partners, Thales already present in Nagpur, Safran to inaugurate its facility in Hyderabad as well as the French aeronautics and defence community among which twenty companies are already settled in India, this approach will mutually benefit both Indian and French industries and will contribute to guaranty both countries to meet tomorrow’s aeronautical challenges.
“I am particularly honored to host this ceremony today as India is part of Dassault Aviation’s DNA. The long and trustful relationship we share is an undeniable success and underpins my determination of establishing for the long term Dassault Aviation in India. We stand alongside the Indian Air Force since 1953, we are totally committed to fulfill its requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India’s ambitious vision for the future“, has declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Dassault Aviation aircraft have been an integral part of Indian defence forces for over six decades. The first Dassault Aviation aircraft, Toofani was supplied to India in 1953, followed by the Mystere IV, the naval Alize, the Jaguar (manufactured under license by HAL), and the Mirage 2000. These aircraft have contributed to Indian sovereignty all along and the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft continues to be the IAF’s ‘cutting edge’ till date. 36 Rafales fighter aircraft has been acquired on September 23rd 2016 to equip the Indian Air Force.
Photo credits: Dassault Aviation / V. Almansa, G. Gosset