During the visit of by President Macron's Diplomatic Advisor Emmanuel Bonne during the first week of January, France made some major industry proposals to the Indian government.
The most significant is that France proposes a complete shift of the Airbus AS565MBe Panther medium helicopter assembly line along with a Dassault Rafale's 70 percent assembly line to India with full transfer of technology.
With the quest from the Bharatiya Nau Sena (Indian Navy) for 57 multirole fighter aircraft to operate off its future aircraft carriers, France is eager to get this contract.
As is known, although already dating back to February 2018, the Indian Navy opened vendor discussions with Boeing Defence and Dassault Aviation as these two companies were regarded as the most serious contenders in the Call for Information. It seems that the contest is progressing as a direct face-off between Boeing’s F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet and a modified version of Dassault’s Rafale M F3R standard.
Next to the Airbus Panther and Rafale assembly lines, France is offering India help in the development of the engine for the twin-engine Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
With France now moving ahead with possible offset contracts, the USA might take next steps in trying to obtain the contract.
Photos: Django Bruinink (Scramble Archive) and Airbus