The Indian Navy should close a deal for the acquisition of 26 Rafale M fighters, a naval version of the Dassault aircraft, according to Forbes.
The outlet also says that the agreement should be signed at the end of the month during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France, during the Bastille Day celebrations.
India is already an operator of the Rafale, but of the standard variant, of which the Air Force has 36 fighters.
The US manufacturer even sent a fighter jet to the country to demonstrate the ability to take off from a sky ramp instead of using a catapult.
Currently, the Indian Navy has one aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, which was built in Russia as part of the Kiev class and later modified in 2004 to increase its capacity.
It operates around 26 MiG-29K fighters in addition to Ka-31 and Ka-28 helicopters.
Boeing was betting on the Indian order to keep the Super Hornet assembly line running until 2027. Without the possible sale, the St. Louis are expected to end production in 2025 after the delivery of the last units to the US Navy.
The French Navy is today the sole operator of the Rafale M, with just over 40 fighters operating aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
In relation to the ground fighter, the naval Rafale has reinforced landing gear, landing hook and access ladder to the cockpit.
The supersonic jet also takes off via catapult, but folding wingtips are not possible, which requires more space for storage on deck.