New Delhi: India is all set to commence negotiations for the upgrade programme of the Mirage 2000 fighter jets with the arrival of a French delegation in the capital on Thursday. The upgrade costs may work out to as much as Rs9,500 crore, according to defence officials.
''The French delegation is here to discuss the Mirage refit. The discussions will be about the cost of upgrades, including improved avionics and weapons system,'' a defence official said.
Negotiations will be conducted with Dassault Aviation, the aircraft manufacturer, and Thales, weapons systems integrator, on issues like the cost of upgrades, including improved avionics and weapons system.
Once finalised, this may turn out to be the second biggest defence deal with France after the Rs18,798 crore Scorpene submarine project.
The Indian Air Force decided to upgrade its fleet of 51 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft two years ago and issued request for proposals to French companies. The Mirage fighters were inducted in the IAF in 1980s.
An earlier round of negotiations has already floundered on the high costs quoted by French companies.