Planemaker Dassault to double Rafale output in two-to-three years if India buys

Mon May 18, 2015 12:20pm EDT
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By Cyril Altmeyer

GENEVA (Reuters) - Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA: Quote) will double production of its Rafale combat jet within two to three years of the completion of a planned sale to India, its chief executive said on Monday.

The maker of combat and business jets is also in talks on potential fighter sales with several other countries including Malaysia, after recently winning its first export contracts for the Rafale with Egypt and Qatar, CEO Eric Trappier added.

He was speaking to Reuters at the EBACE business jet exhibition outside Geneva.

Trappier last week said Dassault would increase production of the Rafale if it signs a third export contract but it did not give a timeframe.

It currently produces 11 Rafales a year.

Trappier said it would be feasible to lift output as high as 2.5 aircraft a month in order to meet future export demand.

India has pledged to order 36 of the planes directly from the French government after talks stalled with Dassault over a larger deal.

Dassault said he hoped the govenment-to-government contract would be finalised this year, adding: "Once the India contract is signed we will double production in two to three years."   Continued...

A Rafale fighter jet flies over the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, in this March 4, 2015 file photo.  REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Files