Rafale-M edges past F/A-18 Super Hornet in Indian Navy's trials for INS Vikrant's deck fighter jet
The two fighter jets had demonstrated their capabilities earlier this year at the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa in Goa, which has a ski-jump.
Indian Navy has submitted a detailed trial-evaluation report on the performance of American F/A-18 Super Hornet and French Rafale (M) fighter aircraft to the defence ministry.
The two fighter jets had demonstrated their capabilities earlier this year at the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa in Goa, which has a ski jump.
According to reports, Dassault Aviation's Rafale-M has the edge over Boeing's F/18 Super Hornet and could end up bagging the contract from the Indian Navy for 26 fighter jets for newly-inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
It must be noted that the Indian Air Force has been operating 36 Rafale aircraft worth Rs 58,000 crore. The deal was concluded under an inter-government agreement in 2016.
As per the sources, during the demonstration, the Rafale (M) met all criteria that the Indian Navy was looking for.
On November 27, a French delegation led by Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu visited the INS Vikrant in Kochi. He was on a two-day visit to attend the fourth annual defence dialogue with his Indian counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
In mid-November, US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro led a delegation to the INS Vikrant and interacted with the ship's crew. Currently, the Indian Navy operates the Russian-origin Mig-29K aircraft from INS Vikramaditya.
The Indian Navy wants fighter jets for an interim arrangement as it has been pushing for indigenous aircraft. At the annual Indian Navy Day press conference, Naval chief Admiral R Hari Kumar stated that the future of Indian naval aviation was the indigenous Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF), whose prototype is expected by 2026-27 and production to start in 2032.