Rafale maritime fighter shows operational capability in Goa

Rafale maritime fighter shows operational capability in Goa

IAC Vikrant is currently undergoing critical sea trials.

The Rafale maritime warrior aircraft on Monday showed its operational ability at a naval facility in Goa as the Navy intends to obtain a fleet of battle jets for its indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant, individuals acquainted with the development said. The show by the naval variant of the Rafale jet occurred at the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa, the naval air station in Goa, they said. The Indian Navy is planning to get a batch of contender jets for IAC Vikrant that is probably going to be commissioned in August.

Over four years back, the Indian Navy had initiated the process to acquire 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its aircraft carrier.

Four planes were in contention for the deal which included Rafale (Dassault, France), F-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MIG-29K (Russia) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden).

In March, F-18 Super Hornet is likely to demonstrate its operational capabilities.

At present, the Indian Navy operates Russian-origin MiG-29K fighters from its sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

The Request For Information issued by the Navy for procurement of the deck-based fighter jets sought to know at what level of Transfer of Technology (ToT) the companies are willing to share with India.

India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 59,000 crore for the Indian Air Force.

The first batch of five Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, arrived in India on July 29, 2020. Already 33 Rafale jets have been delivered to the IAF by the plane’s maker Dassault Aviation.

French defence minister Florence Parly, during a visit to India last month, indicated that France will be interested to supply the carrier-based jets. “We know that the aircraft carrier will soon be…that aircraft are needed. We are open and ready to provide any other Rafale if this is India’s decision,” she said.

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