Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to approve the multi-billion dollar purchase of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft. According to sources, the Indian Navy has stated that it prefers the French fighter jet Rafale Marine to the US F-18 Super Hornet. The CCS has received a proposal for the procurement of Rafale Marine.
Indian Navy Favouring Rafale-M
36 Rafale jets have already been purchased by the Indian Air Force. The fleet’s uniformity and the resulting cost savings on maintenance, repairs, and training are said to have tipped the scales in favor of Dassault’s Rafale Marine. Around 80% of the features of the two aircraft variants are the same.
This aircraft will be used aboard the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which was built in-house. The Original Equipment Manufacturer will be in charge of the full maintenance of the aircraft and the provision of replacement parts, it is said that the Ministry of Defence has worked up a comprehensive contract that includes Performance-based Logistics. In addition to one in Goa, Dassault will also construct a repair facility for the Rafales on INS Vikrant. Together with training the pilots, the business will also teach the naval aviation ground staff.
The fighters will be outfitted with all necessary maritime systems, including a maritime search radar capable of detecting submarines and warships at sea. The aircraft’s price has not yet been disclosed, but sources say it will be significantly less than the IAF version. Rather than holding an open tender, the government has decided to make the acquisition through an intergovernmental agreement.
The Battle of Rafale-M and F-18
Rafale-M has been engaged in a close battle with Boeing’s Super Hornet. According to sources, the Indian Navy brass was so impressed with the Rafale’s capabilities during a recent joint exercise in India that they asked the Ministry of Defence to close the deal with the French vendor.
As a short-term solution, the Indian Navy has been looking into options to replace its aging MiG-29K. As a long-term solution to its need for carrier-based fighters, India has been working on developing its own twin-engine deck-based fighters. However, because it will be some time before the aircraft is developed in-house, the Navy has decided to go ahead with the acquisition to meet its needs. The CCS consists of the ministers of defence, home affairs, finance, and foreign affairs, as well as the national security adviser.
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