In a suspected case of espionage, there was an attempted break-in on Sunday at the Indian Air Force’s Paris office which is overseeing production of 36 Rafale fighter jets for India, military sources said.
A group of unidentified persons broke into the office of the IAF’s Rafale project management team in the suburbs of Paris and local police are probing whether the attempt was to steal classified data relating to the aircraft.
“As per initial assessment, no data or hardware have been stolen. The local police are investigating the incident,” said a source.
The sources said the IAF has briefed the defence ministry about the incident.
The IAF’s office of Rafale project management is located at the complex of Dassault Aviation, the makers of the Rafale jets.
There was no official reaction from either the defence ministry or the IAF about the incident.
The IAF project management team is headed by a Group Captain and it comprises two fighter pilots, one logistics officer and a number of weapons experts and engineers.
The team is coordinating with Dassault Aviation on manufacture of Rafale jets as well as on weapons package onboard of the aircraft.
India had signed a inter-governmental deal in September 2016 with France for procuring 36 Rafale jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore.
The first Rafale is scheduled to be delivered in September this year.