HAL unaware of government scrapping previous Rafale deal: Chairman

Bengaluru: State-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was “unaware” of the previous Rafale fighter deal being scrapped by the NDA government, a top company official said on Friday.

“We were not aware of the earlier deal being scrapped. We do not want to comment on Rafale as we are no longer a part of the deal,” city-based HAL Chairman R. Madhavan told IANS at a media interaction here.

The multi-billion dollar deal the UPA government did not finalise with French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation envisaged HAL manufacturing 108 of the 126 Rafale under licensed production, and 18 delivered in a fly-away condition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) from the French aerospace major.

The Narendra Modi-led government signed another deal in 2015 with the French government to buy outright 36 Rafale in flying condition for an estimated $54 billion.

“We are not into that business now (referring to Rafale aircraft making). Rafale was one of the projects that we were into and not the only project. HAL makes helicopters, engines etc.,” Madhavan said.

As the deal was a direct purchase by the government, the company cannot comment on the specifics of it, HAL chief said.

“As it (Rafale contract) is a direct purchase by the government, we cannot make any comment on the pricing or the policy changes in the deal,” Madhavan added.