India has set its sights on getting more Rafales from France as the Navy is likely to get 26 fighter jets in a multi-billion dollar deal, according to reports. Defence sources claim that the deal could be signed in March when French President Emmanuel Macron visits India.
The Rafales will be acquired for the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant after the Navy rejected the American jet F/A-18 Super Hornet. Dassault Aviation's Rafale M jets are better suited for India's new aircraft carrier.
The Rafale and the F/A-18 Super Hornet were both tested at the INS Hansa in Goa earlier this year. “The Rafale M has been found to be a better fit for the navy’s requirements,” said a second official, also asking not to be named.
The Rafales are set to replace the ageing MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB Russian fighter planes which currently operate from the old IND Vikramaditya, which is a Kyiv clas aircraft carrier of the Soviet Union which India bought and modernised.
The Rafale M is being used by the defence forces of Greece, Indonesia and the UAE while the French Navy has 240 of these jets.
IAF Squadron of Rafales
The Indian Air force already operates two squadrons of the Rafales. India had acquired 36 of these jets in a Rs 60,000 crore deal from France in 2016. India received the first batch of five Rafales in July last year while the final jet was delivered on December 17.
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