New Delhi: With the Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, indicating over the weekend that the medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition would now move into the next phase with field trials expected to commence sometime in April-May this year, France has now said that it hopes that its contender, the Dassault designed and manufactured Rafale, would receive "fair competition." Its concern was expressed through Jean-David Levitte, diplomatic advisor to the French president Nicolas Sarkozy who was speaking to reporters here.
France recently lost out on a contract for 197 military helicopters, due to "severity of rules" in India.
"We are participating in a competition ... We know there is competition and we know in India, competition is to be taken by the word," Levitte said.
"We were victims of the severity of these rules (in helicopter deal) last year. But we accept the rules provided all competitors are treated in same way. It is fair competition that we want," he said.
He also asserted that the Rafale was the best next generation option and would bag the deal if the competition was fair.
Developed by French defence major Dassault, Rafale is a twin-engined multi-role fighter aircraft and is designed for land-based and ship-based operations. It is now seeing active service in Afghanistan,
It is competing with the Russian MiG-35, the Swedish Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the American F/A-18 and F-16 fighters for the estimated $11 billion 126 aircraft contract.