A joint venture of French aerospace major Dassault and Reliance Aerospace Ltd plans to start production of Falcon business jets in Nagpur by 2025.

Set up in 2017 to meet the offset obligations under the Rafale aircraft deal, the JV facility in Nagpur has been producing components of the fighter jet. The first cockpit assembly of Falcon 2000 business jet was delivered from the facility in 2019. 

Initially, the idea was to fully assemble the Falcon business jets in India by 2022, but the proposal was deferred. Now, plans are now being firmed up to assemble the complete aircraft in India. A source close to Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) said the plan is to rollout the first Falcon 2000 LXS jet from Nagpur in early 2025. The initial production capacity is planned for 18 aircraft a year, which could go up to 22 aircraft.

“The first deliveries from DRAL facility are planned for the French Defence Ministry, which has placed an order of nine aircraft with Dassault. With the production of these business jets in the next 18 months, India will join select group of countries that manufacture business jets,” said the source.

The DRAL source said there was no discussion on Dassault buying Anil Ambani group firm’s stake in the JV. A media report in July had talked about a stake sale due to Reliance’s inability to infuse capital.

French facility

Dassault has an aircraft assembly facility in France. The company has a completion centre in the US, where aircraft interior, painting, and other engineering works are carried out.

According to aviation industry sources, Dassault is the third-largest OEM in business jet category in India (behind Textron and Bombardier), with around 20 Falcon jets. The Falcon jets, which have a range of 3000-4000 nautical miles, are popular among the charter operators in India. This is because Falcon jets have wider cabin size and, hence, offer greater comfort, said an industry watcher.