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  • Writer's picturebidyut gogoi

French Rafale M edges out American F/A-18 in Indian Navy fighter contest


According to an official, there would be shared spare parts and maintenance if the navy also acquires the marine variant of the Rafale fighter, which the Indian Air Force already employs with two squadrons.


According to people acquainted with the situation, the French Rafale M fighter won out over the American F/A-18 Super Hornet in a direct competition to supply the Indian Navy with 26 new deck-based fighters for the nation's first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.


While Boeing produces the Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation makes the Rafale.


In January and June, respectively, Dassault and Boeing gave the navy a demonstration of their aircraft's capabilities at a shore-based testing facility in Goa.


According to one of the aforementioned officials who requested anonymity, the navy has given the defence ministry the trial reports of the two fighters, and the government must now make a decision about the government-to-government arrangement to satisfy the navy's needs.


Another insider, who also asked to remain anonymous, stated that "The Rafale M has been proven to be a better fit for the navy's requirements."


The Indian Air Force now runs two squadrons of the Rafale fighter, and the official noted that if the navy also purchases the marine variant of the same fighter, spare parts and maintenance will be shared.


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