Four fighter jets are in contention for the deal which included Rafale (Dassault, France), F-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MiG-29K (Russia) and Gripen (SAAB, Sweden)
Indian Navy will start testing the Rafale-M (Marine) for using on its aircraft carriers. The test of the Rafale fighter aircraft will take place at the INS Hansa in Goa which is a shore-based test facility.
France sent a Rafale maritime fighter aircraft to a naval facility in Goa on Thursday to demonstrate its combat capabilities.
The Indian Navy is planning to procure a batch of fighter jets for indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant that is likely to be commissioned in August.
The Rafale-M fighter jet has a reinforced under-carriage and a nose wheel, a bigger arrester hook, an integrated ladder, and other minor differences from the Rafale fighter jets that are being currently used by Indian Air Force(IAF), according to report.
The aircraft sent to India for testing is the latest version of the fighter jet which is equipped with India specific requirements which included nuclear capability, air to air Meteor missile, air to ground SCALP missile and Hammer precision guided ammunition.
In 2017, the Indian Navy had issued a Request for Information (RFI) to procure 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).
While F-18, Rafale and MiG-29K are twin-engine jets, Gripen is a single-engine aircraft.
In the next few months, remaining contenders are also likely to bring in their aircraft to India for demonstration.
The government also wanted manufacture of these planes in India. The RFI sought to know at what level of Transfer of Technology (ToT) and deep repair expertise the companies are willing to share with India.
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.