In a huge win for the French defense industrial base, Dassault Aviation has emerged as the lowest bidder for a $10 billion contract to supply India with 126 of its Rafale fighter jets.
If finalized, the deal for medium multi-role combat aircraft would be the first overseas order for the Rafale.* It would also represent a major loss for the rival bidder, the Eurofighter Typhoon, backed by the four-nation consortium of Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy.
"Fighter jets are among the most expensive investment any country can make at the moment, and hence, because selling these is an expensive issue, it becomes a political issue," said Endre Lunde, a consultant at the global information provider IHS Jane's. "There are only a few [exporters] on the market to sell this equipment, so after you choose, you are basically locked in with that country for 30 or 40 years," he said. "This is a massive decision for making partners in one of the most important parts of your inventory."