Dassault to invest Rs6,500 cr in JV facility with Reliance Aerospace

French fighter jet maker Dassault Aviation is investing $116 million (about Rs65,000 crore) in Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), to be set up as a joint venture with Anil Ambani-led Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park, in Mihan SEZ near Nagpur airport.

The foundation laying ceremony of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited  manufacturing facility was held on Friday in the presence of visiting French minister of armed forces Florence Parly.

Located within the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park at Mihan, Reliance Aerostructure will have 51 per cent in DRAL while Dassault Aviation will hold the remaining 49 per cent.

''The facility will manufacture several components of the offset obligation connected to the purchase of 36 Rafale Fighters from France, signed between India and France in September 2016,'' according to Dassault.

Last year, India and France concluded a Rs59,000 crore deal for 36 Rafale jets in a flyaway condition. The deal has a 50-per cent offset clause, amounting to Rs30,000 crore which is to be executed by Dassault and its partners in India.

Accordingly, Dassault and Reliance Defence announced their joint venture for implementing the offsets.

The Mihan facility will initially manufacture several critical components under the offset clause for import of 36 fighter jets from France, under the agreement signed between India and France.

This establishes the possibility of the final assembly of the entire aircraft.

Besides the joint venture facility at Mihan under the strategic partnership will manufacture components for the Legacy Falcon 2000 series of civil jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation and will become part of its global supply chain.

"These first steps are expected to be achieved in the coming years, leading to the possible setting up of the final assembly of Rafale and Falcon aircraft in India," a DRAL official said.

This is for the first time that a business jet will be manufactured in India, the official said.

The DRAL facility will train skilled workers in aviation assembly and integration, and lead to major employment generation in Nagpur and surrounding areas, the official added.

It will also attract and house an organic ecosystem of over 200 MSMEs to secure the component and avionics manufacturing needs of Rafale and Falcon jets.

Dassault Aviation Chairman Eric Trappier said the firm is firmly committed to implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' programme.

"This development (DRAL) gives the 65-year-long strong association of Dassault Aviation in India a new momentum and the will of future manufacturing developments," he said.

"The Reliance-Dassault partnership will bring high levels of technology transfer and make India a major supplier in the global aviation supply chain," Ambani said.

Dassault and Reliance will fully support 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' missions and enhance India's pursuit of self sufficiency in the aerospace sector, he added.

Ambani also thanked Gadkari and Fadnavis for their "strong and consistent support" for the project.

The Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park, spread over 289 acres, will be the largest greenfield aerospace park in India with a capital investment of over Rs6,500 crore and will be home to DRAL. It is being developed in two phases.

Phase one production is expected to start next year.

Reliance Group will set up assembly lines and manufacturing facilities of fixed wing aircraft aerostructure for commercial transport aircraft and helicopters for both defence and commercial use.

The park will also house ancillary and component manufacturing units to support after-sales requirements.