MMRCA 2.0 - Updates and Discussions

What is your favorite for MMRCA 2.0 ?

  • F-35 Blk 4

    Votes: 28 12.4%
  • Rafale F4

    Votes: 178 78.8%
  • Eurofighter Typhoon T3

    Votes: 3 1.3%
  • Gripen E/F

    Votes: 6 2.7%
  • F-16 B70

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • F-18 SH

    Votes: 10 4.4%
  • F-15EX

    Votes: 7 3.1%
  • Mig-35

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Senior member
May 19, 2020
Mother Of All Deals! France Sets Eyes On ‘Unfinished’ BIG TICKET 114 Rafale Fighter Contract For Indian Air Force
By Ritu Sharma -November 4, 2023

France has received a Letter of Request (LoR) from India to sell Dassault Aviation’s Rafale Marine to the Indian Navy for its aircraft carriers. The deal for 26 Rafale-Ms reaching the finish line, the French aircraft maker is setting its eyes on the big ticket, an unfinished 114-jet order for the Indian Air Force.

The LoR is like a tender document in which the Indian government has specified all its requirements and capabilities on the Rafale Marine aircraft. It will operate from aircraft carriers — INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya.

The contract signing is still some time away, as France would still evaluate the LoR and reply to India with a Letter of Acceptance or LoA before cost negotiations for the 26 jets begin. The signing of the contract is expected in 2024.

Dassault Aviation has seen the demand increase for Rafale omni-role fighter jets globally after it delivered 36 Rafales for the IAF in a government-to-government contract. Most recently, the French media claimed that Rafale has won a deal to supply 54 Rafales to Saudi Arabia after a veto from Germany dashed the chances of Eurofighter Typhoon winning the contract.

Dassault Aviation’s Rafale is competing against Boeing’s F/A-18 and F/15EX, Lockheed Martin’s F-21, SAAB’s Gripen, and three other prominent combat jets from around the world for the Indian Air Force tender — called the mother of all deals — to supply 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA).

Rafale had, in 2013, won a previous tender for 126 jets, floated by the IAF in 2007, called the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) procurement program. But in 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi canceled the tender, which had become unviable, and bought 36 Rafale off-the-shelf from France in a nearly US$8-billion deal. That’s why Dassault Aviation sees this MRFA for 114 jets as an “unfinished” business.

“IAF plans to induct six squadrons of MRFA in a phased manner. The program would be progressed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of DAP-2020. Responses have been received for eight aircraft types,” IAF Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari told the Indian media. Experts, however, see the competition brewing between Dassault’s Rafale, Boeing’s F-15EX, and Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen.

“ASQRs (Air Staff Qualitative Requirements) have been finalized, and detailed interactions with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have taken place. OEM commitments for indigenous content of selected categories and ‘Make in India’ provisions are being sought. Envisaged to integrate indigenously developed A-A (Air-to-air) and A-G (Air-to-ground) weapons on MRFA being manufactured in India,” the IAF chief added.

The IAF floated the RFI in 2018 and got an enthusiastic response from aircraft makers worldwide for the multi-billion-dollar deal. After setting the fresh ASQRs, as the EurAsian Times earlier reported, the IAF is awaiting the government’s nod to send a proposal for an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). For a year, there has been no movement on the MRFA deal.

Air Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari, the former deputy chief of the IAF, had told journalists during Aero India 2023 (held in February) that the AoN is expected from the government in the next three to four months. It has been November, and the AON has not been granted yet to the IAF, which presently has 31 squadron strengths and stares at dwindling fighter squadron strength and an aging fleet.

The IAF needs many aircraft to be recognized as a deterrence to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). “They (the IAF) have not been able to convince the Indian government that the imported aircraft are required in such large numbers. The whole process, up to aircraft delivery, will take 6 to 7 years. By then, Tejas Mk-2 may also be ready for induction. That may be the reason for the government’s indecision,” the official offered.

The IAF, toeing the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ policy, has already expressed the intent to order 90 more Light Combat Aircraft Mk1.

Rafale Meeting IAF’s Urgent Requirement

The IAF’s requirement for the 114 MRFA is urgent to maintain a combative edge. Rafale has the advantage that the country’s air force is already operating the aircraft, and the navy will soon be inducting it.

The experts also see the advantage here, but the IAF officials don’t see it as a foregone conclusion as the ASQRs have been set afresh. The formulation of ASQR is the most crucial stage in defense acquisition as it determines the quality, price, and competition.

“The MMRCA competition was a thoroughly conducted process. It took us years to vet every contender. For MRFA, which is just a different name for the contract, I can only expect the ‘Make in India’ could be the deciding factor,” Air Marshal (Retd) M. Matheswaran, who had overseen the MMRCA tender for the IAF before retirement, told the EurAsian Times.

The IAF had proposed in August 2000 to acquire 126 Mirage 2000 II aircraft. The proposal was discarded in 2004, and in 2007, a decision was taken to buy 126 jets under MMRCA.

For Rafale, The Deal Remains

Rafale, a twin-engine multi-role aircraft, can carry out air-to-air combat or can drop bombs on targets in air-to-ground missions, and owing to its cameras, radars, and sensors, can be used for intelligence gathering.

The aircraft development took a long time. The demonstrator flew on July 4, 1986. The program was officially launched in January 1988, the prototype took to the air on May 19, 1991, and the first Rafale F1 was delivered to the French Navy precisely a decade later, on May 18, 2001.

Since then, France has deployed this combat jet in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Mali, where it flew its most extended mission in 2013, spanning nine hours and 35 minutes. Rafale’s stellar combat experience was documented in an earlier report of the EurAsian Times. From Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq & Syria, Rafale jets “outclassed” its enemies everywhere and have never-ever been shot down.

The aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, says that Rafale can carry out “the widest range of roles” with the smallest number of aircraft. It can carry long-range air-to-air Meteor, Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) MICA, long-range standoff missile SCALP, anti-ship missile AM39 Exocet, Laser-guided bombs, and classic bombs.

The Rafale participates in permanent “Quick Reaction Alert” (QRA), air defense, air policing missions, nuclear deterrence duties, power projection and deployments for external missions, deep strike missions, air support for ground forces, reconnaissance missions, and pilot training sorties. It comes in three variants: single-seater Rafale C for the Air Force, twin-seater trainer for Air Force Rafale B, and single-seater for Navy Rafale M.

Rafale B and C entered service with the French Air Force in June 2006, when the first squadron was established. The company received the development contract for the Rafale F4 standard aircraft in January 2019. The validation of the latest standard is expected in 2024.

But to win the MRFA deal, the French aerospace major will have to go beyond this and offer to ‘Make in India,’ and what transfer of technology Dassault Aviation can offer remains to be seen. And there is no denying that with France’s fighter jet market saturated, India is a significant market.
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Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
Dassault aviation miserait sur l’assemblage de Rafale exports en Inde pour s’adjuger le super contrat MRCA-2 ?
Is Dassault Aviation betting on assembling Rafale exports in India to win the MRCA-2 super contract?

Fabrice Wolf

  • Strategic cooperation under discussion between Paris and New Delhi
  • Rafale assembly in India to win the MRCA-2 contract
  • An effective and relevant strategy for Dassault aviation and France

According to the Indian press, Dassault Aviation is considering assembling some of the Rafales in its international order book in India. Although this information has not yet been confirmed, it would nonetheless make a great deal of sense, as it would put the French bid for the MRCA-2 contract in a league of its own, beyond the reach of its American, Russian or European competitors.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France last July for the 14 July celebrations was an opportunity for Dassault Aviation to start the final negotiations for an order for 26 Rafale M aircraft for the Indian Navy.

At the same time, Naval Group was negotiating the exercise of the option for three Kalvari-class Scorpene submarines, to be assembled in Goa to join the six vessels already built and soon all in service with the Indian Navy.

Strategic cooperation under discussion between Paris and New Delhi

But these two spectacular contracts could well represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Franco-Indian industrial and technological cooperation in the years to come.

Last July, a number of potential cooperative ventures were already announced, notably in the field of fighter jet engines, while New Delhi is aiming to develop two major aircraft in the coming years: the AMCA, which is to replace the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKIs, and the TEDBF, which is to equip India's future CATOBAR aircraft carrier.

But other subjects had also leaked, particularly to the Indian press, especially concerning French assistance with the nationally-built nuclear attack submarine programme.

Naval Group is said to be enthusiastic about the idea of helping India to develop its own SNA, including through certain technology transfers, if New Delhi were to order additional Scorpene submarines beforehand.

Although the Indian press is notoriously unreliable, often over-enthusiastic, the fact is that this order is well and truly underway, and reports of Franco-Indian cooperation on the Indian SNA programme are becoming more insistent by the day.

Assembling Rafales in India to win the MRCA-2 contract

So when this same source claims that Dassault is considering deploying a Rafale assembly site in India to meet orders that are piling up beyond the production capacity of the Mérignac site, we should pay close attention.

Admittedly, the information relayed by the Indian site may seem suspicious. Indeed, Dassault recently maintained that its assembly line could produce 3 or even 4 Rafales per month, and that the difficulties encountered today stemmed mainly from the subcontracting chain, which was unable to find the financing needed to keep pace with the growth in sales of the aircraft.

However, such a communication and sales strategy would obviously make a lot of sense for Dassault Aviation, which, in addition to the 26 Rafale Ms currently under negotiation, is also targeting the 114 aircraft in the MRCA 2 competition.

To achieve this, Dassault has every interest in leveraging its main asset, namely its particularly strong export order book, by offering New Delhi the possibility of assembling part of this order book at the site dedicated to the Rafale B/C and possibly M for the Indian air force and navy.

None of the French aircraft's competitors, whether the American F-21 or F-15EX, the European Typhoon, the Swedish Gripen or the Russian Su-35s, can offer such compensation, which would make India an exporter of combat aircraft. This last point would naturally carry a lot of weight in the nationalist stance of President Modi and his government.

Finally, we should note that it is probably preferable for Dassault Aviation not to saturate or oversize its industrial facilities around the Rafale, bearing in mind that in the next few years it will very probably have to produce the Neuron-derived combat drone mentioned in the LPM, as well as upgrading its entire fleet to the F4 and then F5 standards.

After that, in 2035, we will need to switch to production of the NGF for the SCAF programme. Finally, from the point of view of value creation and employment, assembly represents only part of the value of the aircraft, the price of which is based above all on the price of its components, such as engines, on-board systems, weapons and maintenance systems.

An effective and relevant strategy for Dassault Aviation and France

In other words, the business transferred to India in this scenario would be more than offset for France by the order for 114 aircraft, many of whose components will be produced in France.


Dassault Aviation Rafale Neuron Over the next few years, Dassault will have to assemble new Rafales,
modernise existing Rafales and produce combat drones derived from the Neuron at its Mérignac site.

As we can see, the indiscretions obtained by the **** website are far from not withstanding careful analysis, and even fit in perfectly with a possible effective commercial strategy for Dassault Aviation in India.

Given the stakes and the fierce competition surrounding the MRCA-2 contract, it is also understandable that Dassault Aviation might want to keep a low profile, just as Naval Group does with regard to the Indian ANS programme.

It now remains to be seen whether this rumour and the ensuing hypotheses will actually result in new contracts for French manufacturers, and a strengthening of Franco-Indian defence cooperation?