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Rafale Marine for Indian Navy

France is India's closest strategic partner in Europe, and the acquisition of 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets for the Indian Navy is being negotiated, aiming to boost India's naval air power and carrier-borne capabilities.

June 25, 2024 By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd) Photo(s): By Dassault Aviation, PIB, SP Guide Pubns / Karthik Kumar
The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army

 

RAFALE M - NAVAL VARIANT OF THE MULTI-ROLE FIGHTER

Meeting on the sidelines of the recent G7 Summit in Apulia, Italy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel held a bilateral meeting on June 14, 2024. In addition to Macron, Prime Minister Modi also met UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 Summit.

At the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Macron, both leaders agreed to bolster strategic defence cooperation, with a heightened emphasis on promoting India's 'Make in India' initiative. They also discussed ways to encourage innovation and research among the youth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to bolster strategic defence cooperation, focusing on India's 'Make in India' initiative and promoting innovation and research among the youth.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Modi posted on X, "Had an excellent meeting with my friend President @EmmanuelMacron. This is our fourth meeting in one year, indicating the priority we accord to strong India-French ties. Our talks covered numerous subjects such as defence, security, technology, AI, Blue Economy and more. We also discussed how to encourage innovation and research among the youth. I conveyed my best wishes to him on the hosting of the Paris Olympics, which begins next month."

PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI IN A BILATERAL MEETING WITH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON ON THE SIDELINES OF THE 50TH G7 SUMMIT.

An official release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "The two leaders reviewed India-France bilateral relations, focusing on the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap and the Indo-Pacific Roadmap. Discussions included cooperation in defence, nuclear, space, education, climate action, digital public infrastructure, connectivity and cultural initiatives such as the National Museum partnership and enhancing people-to-people ties. They agreed to further intensify strategic defence cooperation with an increased focus on 'Make in India'."

The MEA release further said, "They also agreed to expand cooperation in the realms of AI, critical and emerging technologies, energy and sports, while working closely in the context of the forthcoming AI Summit and United Nations Oceans Conference, both to be hosted in France in 2025. The two leaders also exchanged views on key global and regional issues. They emphasised that a strong and trusted strategic partnership between India and France is crucial for a stable and prosperous global order and agreed to work closely to make it scale greater heights. Prime Minister Modi extended his best wishes to President Macron for the forthcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games."

India and France agreed to expand cooperation in AI, critical and emerging technologies, energy, and sports, while preparing for the AI Summit and United Nations Oceans Conference in 2025.

France is India's closest strategic partner in Europe and the two sides have built up close cooperation, especially in security and defence. In 2016, India purchased 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) under a deal worth Euro 7.87 billion. Presently, India is in negotiations with France to acquire 26 Rafale jets for the Indian Navy (IN).

India is in negotiations to acquire 26 Rafale jets for the Indian Navy (IN).

Reports stated that a high-level French delegation was in India to negotiate the price and other related issues for the Rafale Marine fighter jets, or the Rafale (M) for the Indian Navy. France had submitted its response to India's tender for buying 26 Rafale Marine jets for the Indian Navy's aircraft carriers - INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya in December last year. The response to India's Letter of Acceptance had been submitted by France in New Delhi. The negotiations, which were earlier supposed to be held on May 30, were postponed to June in view of the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

An ANI release quoting defence officials said, "The French delegation is in New Delhi, including officials from their Directorate General of Armament which is looking after the sale of the Rafale jets to India" according to sources, the Indian side is represented by the officials from the Directorate General of Acquisition under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other military officers from the user side.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) highlighted the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap and Indo-Pacific Roadmap, with discussions on cooperation in defence, nuclear, space, education, climate action, and cultural initiatives.

The deal, which is being negotiated on government-to-government basis, is likely to be worth over ₹50,000 crore, it will help increase the number of these advanced aircraft in the Indian inventory to 62 with the existing 36 in the Air Force fleet. As per the plans, the Indian Navy will deploy these aircraft at the INS 'Degha' in Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as their 'home base' while the aircraft would be operated from the aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy including the INS 'Vikramaditya' and the INS 'Vikrant'.

Rafale B, the twin-seater "trainer" variant

According to media reports, the single-seat Rafale (M) is likely to cost around Euro 91.07 million per unit comparable to the Rafale fighter jets purchased for the IAF. The Navy's acquisition plan also includes 4 x Rafale Bs, the twin-seater "trainer" variant, prices at approximately Euro 94 million per unit. Compared to the Rafale jets with the IAF, the Rafale (M) has an extended and reduced nose section, designed to withstand the powerful launch mechanism of an aircraft carrier. In addition, the undercarriage is strengthened to handle the demanding take-off and landing cycles on a moving platform at sea.

India is the first country to which France will be exporting the Rafale (M) fighter jets. Acquisition of the Rafale (M) will be a tremendous boost to Indian Navy's air power and carrier borne capabilities.