French planemaker Dassault Aviation SA hopes to start talks with India by the end of the year for additional sales of its Rafale fighter jet, before full negotiations in 2018, Chief Executive Eric Trappier said in Geneva on Sunday.
In India, where Dassault Aviation signed a long-awaited contract for 36 Rafale fighter jets in September 2016, Trappier said it was working on an additional order for the air force as well as a tender for 57 carrier borne fighter jets for the Indian Navy.
India’s in-development carrier INS Vikrant, and planned nuclear -powered super carrier INS Vishal ( in design phase ) will require highly capable carrier-borne fighters and Rafale’s Rafale M naval version can fulfill that requirement .
India is also considering other options for a new fighter platform for its carrier-borne fighter force, including Sweden’s Saab Gripen, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Russia’s MiG-29K.
“There is no negotiation, we are not there yet: we are waiting for a one-to-one discussion,” Trappier said, hoping to start talks this year before full-fledged negotiations in 2018.