Paris: Lack of export orders for the Dassault's Rafale fighter jet is obviously worrying the French government, which has now warned that production of the fighter could be stopped if such orders didn't materialise. The warning was issued by the country's defence minister.
Minister Gerard Longuet maintained that the Rafale is an "excellent plane." However, he acknowledged that it was handicapped by its price, which was higher than its US rivals.
The Rafale is yet to secure an export order and is currently used solely by the French armed forces.
"If Dassault doesn't sell the plane abroad, its production will in fact be stopped," Longuet said Wednesday in an interview with a television station. Production would continue until Dassault delivers its orders to the French armed forces.
Though a much-anticipated sale to Brazil failed to materialise, Longuet stressed that the Rafale remained in the running for deals with United Arab Emirates and India.
Dassault is up against European consortium Eurofighter for the $11-billion Indian deal for 126 multi-role combat aircraft.