Dassault celebrates choice of Rafale M to equip Indian Navy

Indian government confirmed selection of French naval fighter to operate aboard aircraft carrier INS Vikrant

The Indian government confirmed in Paris the selection of the Rafale M naval fighter to equip the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the newest flagship of the Indian Navy.

The agreement involves the acquisition of 26 Rafale Marine fighters, being the first time that the aircraft is exported.

Dassault, manufacturer of the supersonic jet, celebrated the victory in the Indian competition, where Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter also competed.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our partnership with the Indian Forces, I would like to thank the Indian authorities for this new mark of confidence and pledge, on behalf of Dassault Aviation, that we will fully meet the Indian Navy’s expectations with the Rafale ”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

The choice of the Rafale M changes the landscape of the Indian Navy’s on-board aviation, which had originally chosen to rely on Russian MiG-29K fighters.

These jets are aboard India’s first aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, a Russian Kiev-class vessel that was refitted in the 2000s.

The Indian Navy received 45 MiG-29K, but four aircraft were lost in accidents (USN)

MiG-29K replaced

According to reports, the MiG-29Ks proved to be problematic and in low availability. The Indian Navy evaluated not only the Rafale and Super Hornet, but also the local fighter HAL Tejas in a naval version.

The Rafale M has only one operator, the French Navy, which makes up the air wing of the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

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In the Indian Navy, the Dassault fighter will take off using a ramp, unlike the French ship, which is equipped with catapults.

According to Indian media, the order should include 22 Rafale M and four Rafales DH, two-seaters, which will be used for training on shore.

India has also ordered three more Scorpenes submarines in the same package as Dassault fighters.


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