Manufacturing of Rafale fighter jet parts begins at Nagpur facility

Students of city-based ITI are being trained to assemble Rafale parts

Nagpur: In a siginificant development, the Nagpur-based facility Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) has started manufacturing parts for Rafale, some of which could even be used on the 36 French fighter jets ordered by Indian Government in 2016.

The first set of doors that cover the twin engines of the fighter jets has come out of the Nagpur facility, which is a joint venture of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence and French firm Dassault Aviation.

According to an official, most of the Rafale fighter jet parts would be manufactured in India in the coming days. “We are seeing India has one of the drivers of the Dassault Aviation products. Be it the Falcon business jet or now the Rafale, every product in the future will have an Indian connection,” an official of the French defence major told a news website and added the idea is to scale up production of Rafale parts in the coming months.

Nagpur ITI students being trained to assemble Rafale parts:

The students of Nagpur-based ITI (Industrial Training Institute) are being trained to assemble parts of Rafale fighter jets. An agreement in this connnection was signed by French firm Dassault Aviation with the Government-run ITI, Nagpur. Under this agreement, “Aeronautical Structure and Equipment Fitter” course was started in the ITI.

The first four Rafale jets are expected to arrive in India in May. While one squadron of the Rafale fighter jets will be based in Ambala, the other would be in Hasimara, West Bengal. Industry sources said that what works for foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers is that production in India helps them to meet offset obligations and also to procure materials and products at a much lower rate since the labour cost is less in the country.

The Nagpur facility of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) was initially making only cockpits for the French manufacturer’s Falcon business jets, besides other parts. The facility was only meant to manufacture components for Falcon jets and not for the Rafale jets.

Dassault and Reliance announced their joint venture and the creation of DRAL on October 3, 2016, barely two weeks after India signed a Rs 58,000 crore deal for 36 Rafale jets in a flyaway condition. The DRAL facility was inaugurated in October 2017.