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IAF Chief embarks on France visit

NEW DELHI (BNS): While the Indian Air Force is making final negotiations for its mega-budget medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal with French firm Dassault Aviation, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has embarked on a four-day official visit to France on Monday.

The IAF Chief's visit is the first high-level official visit from India after the change of guard in Paris with Francois Hollande taking over Presidentship from Nicolas Sarkozy.

The visit aims at expanding the already robust bilateral military ties between the two countries.

During his visit, the Air Chief Marshal is scheduled to meet the new French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and French Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Édouard Guillaud.

He will also meet French Air Force Chief, General Jean-Paul Paloméros, and the chief of French defence procurement agency (DGA), Ingenieur Général de l'Armement (IGA) Laurent Collet-Billon, an official statement said here.

The IAF Chief would visit the Cognac, Istres and St. Dizier airbases of the French Air Force (FAF).

"At St. Dizier, he would also be visiting the Rafale Squadron to get a first hand impression of the MMRCA, selected by the IAF, as also to see Rafale's production facilities at Mérignac, besides overseeing the progress of various projects being carried forward as joint ventures between the two countries," the statement said.

The Air Chief will also interact with IAF's Project Management Team members for the Mirage-2000 upgrade programme.

India, in February this year, announced Dassault Rafale as the lowest bidder for the procurement of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for the IAF. The value of the contract is estimated to be worth over $11 billion.

Rafale pipped five other contenders - Lockheed Martin's F-16 Super Viper, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, United Aircraft's MiG-35, SAAB's Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon.

Exclusive negotiations are presently going on between Dassault and the Defence Ministry to finalise the mega deal.


IAF  MMRCA  Dassault  France  

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