05:23 GMT09 July 2020
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    Indian authorities currently considering the purchase of French Dassault Rafale fighter jets and the development of the joint Russia-India fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project have not yet decided on going ahead with either of the options, a source in the Indian Ministry of Defense told the Times of India newspaper Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Media reported on Thursday that the Indian Air Force was planning a new purchase of 36 French Rafale fighters on top of last year's deal on an identical number of aircraft.

    "No final decision as yet has been taken on either the 36 more Rafales or the FGFA project," the source said.

    French Rafale fighter aircrafts.
    The Indian Defense Ministry reportedly maintains that the purchase of French aircraft would be cheaper than the development of the FGFA project with Russia. The possible new purchase of Rafale jets is estimated by Indian specialists at around 60% of the first purchase amounting to $9.39 billion.

    According to the outlet, the Indian Air Force is planning to use infrastructure at the Hasimara and Ambala airbases to accommodate the additional Rafale fighters.

    "This will cut down the induction costs of the 36 additional fighters," the source explained.

    The Indian-French deal of the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft was signed in September 2016. The Rafale jets agreement was announced in April 2015 during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris, but negotiations on pricing have protracted. Initially, India planned to purchase 126 Rafales, but later the sides agreed on only 36 aircraft.

    Under the Russian-Indian FGFA project, both sides would invest $4 billion each at the developmental stage, while the total cost of constructing 127 fighter jets is estimated to amount to $25 billion. In late July, Sergey Chemezov, the general director of Russia's Rostec state corporation, said that the contract on FGFA will be signed shortly.


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