India is to begin discrete negotiations with France for 31 retired SEPECAT Jaguar aircraft.
The plane was a joint Anglo-French attack jet project originally used by RAF and Armée de l’air, and now remains operational only with Indian Airforce with about 130 airframes still active in service.
The plane was intended for a CAS and a nuclear strike role where it very well proved itself in multiple conflicts as recently as Persian Gulf Conflict.
The French government made the offer of sale for the Jaguar fighters about six months ago, and India is actively pursuing the opportunity, according to a top Indian Ministry of Defence official.
The offer will be actively discussed during an official visit to France July 17-20 of India’s Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the MoD official noted.
ACM Dhanoa will also be undertaking a sortie of Dassualt Rafale and an inspection of the license production of Rafale aircraft for India at Dassault Aviation manufacturing facilities while in France.
The two countries signed a €7.8 billion (U.S. $8.9 billion) intergovernmental agreement on Sept. 23, 2016, under which 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition will be procured from Dassault Aviation for the Indian Air Force.
According to the offset clause of the contract, France will invest 30 percent of the €7.8 billion in India’s military aeronautics-related research programs and 20 percent into the local production of Rafale components to fulfill the mandatory offsets under the deal.
While the Indian Jaguars are being upgraded to an indigenous standard of DARIN III by the HAL. So far, three upgraded Jaguar DARIN III prototypes have been developed and about 60 Jaguar aircraft will be modernized in three years’ time, which will give operational life to the aircraft for another 20 years.
The newly procured aircraft might very well for the purpose of cannibalization of spares for the already existing fleet.
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