Eye on mega deal with Navy, Dassault will fly Rafale Marine to India in 2022 for demonstration trip

Rafale M | Credit: Dassault Aviation

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New Delhi: French defense giant Dassault Aviation is expected to bring the naval version of the Rafale aircraft to India in early 2022 to demonstrate its ability to perform a ski jump, which is a crucial takeoff capability for operating from Indian aircraft carriers, said ThePrint. learned.

Sources within the defense establishment have said that Dassault, which is considering a mega contract with the Indian Navy for new fighters, has offered to bring the Rafale M (Navy) to India. The Navy plans to procure new fighters to replace the Russian MiG 29Ks.

“The Rafale M will not take off from the aircraft carrier (during the showcase) but from the Land Test Facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa, Goa. Dassault Aviation is confident and wants to show its capabilities in India itself, ”said a source.

The sources added that the dates were not yet set but Dassault offered to bring in the Rafale M as early as January, if necessary.

The on-board fighters are mainly divided into three categories: STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing), STOBAR (short take-off but recovery stopped) and CATOBAR (catapulted take-off but recovery stopped).

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and the American aircraft carriers use CATOBAR while the Indian carriers – INS Vikramaditya and a native under test – use STOBAR. Therefore, foreign fighters must present this capability as a basic requirement.

The behavior of a fighter jet for a few seconds after ski jump takeoffs, until the winged flight takes place, is essential for successful launch of aircraft carriers.

The Rafale M competitor – Boeing’s F / A-18 Super Hornet fighter – demonstrated ski jumping capability in December 2020. However, the demonstration took place at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in the United States.

Read also : Why India should miss the 2021 deadline to modernize Mirage 2000 fighters

The talks for the naval version of the Rafale date back to 2016

Dassault Aviation had been in talks with the Navy for the naval version of the Rafale even before signing the contract for the 36 air force fighters in 2016.

In 2017, the Navy sent a Request for Information (RFI) to foreign actors for 57 new fighters.

However, with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) now working on an aircraft carrier-based twin-engine deck fighter (TEBDF), the Navy is expected to reduce its need for foreign fighters.

Last year, the head of the navy, Admiral Karambir Singh had also said the force may pursue the joint acquisition of fighters with the IAF.

“We have the MiG-29K operating from the Vikramaditya and will be operating from the Native Aircraft Carrier (IAC) -I. To replace them, we have taken on a case for Embedded Multi-Role Fighters (MRCBF) which we are trying to do with the IAF, ”he said.

Read also : IAF is not just a supporting weapon, says new Air Chief Chaudhari, as he supports joint operations

“The IAC-I elevator can accommodate all planes”

Sources within the defense establishment sought to allay fears expressed in some quarters that the native aircraft carrier’s elevator was small and would not be able to accommodate the Rafale M or the F / A. -18. While the Boeing fighter comes with foldable wings, the Rafale does not.

“The mere fact that the two companies are keen to offer their aircraft means that they have considered various measures,” said a source, declining to go into details.

Sources also said that all discussions about the project are happening internally within the Navy and any movement to go further will depend on what companies have to offer in terms of cost, including cycle costs. life and future upgrades.

While Dassault is happy to merge naval needs with those of the Air Force, Boeing is skeptical about it, they added.

(Edited by Rachel John)

Read also : New IAF chief looks past 36 additional Rafale jets, wants 114 multi-role fighter jets

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