After three Rafale contracts put into force in 2022 (80 in the United Arab Emirates, 6 in Greece and six in Indonesia), Dassault Aviation is almost certain to win a new contract in 2023. While waiting maybe Colombia, even Serbia, New Delhi will most likely confirm the acquisition of the Rafale Marine to the tricolor aircraft manufacturer during Emmanuel Macron's visit to India scheduled for next March, according to our information. The precise date of the presidential trip would not yet be stopped. But everything would be ready on the Indian side to announce the selection of the Rafale Marine, we explain to La Tribune. A contract could be signed fairly quickly after this announcement. Especially since in 2023, India and France will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of their strategic partnership.

"France is one of India's most reliable strategic partners," said the Indian Ministry of Defense recently

The Indian Navy, which eliminated the F-18 from Boeing for technical reasons, expressed an initial need for 26 aircraft to equip its INS Vikrant aircraft carrier "Made in India". This aircraft will provide the Indians with a homogeneous fleet between the Rafale Air and the Rafale Marine. New Delhi, who ordered 36 Rafale in 2016, moreover received in December, six years later, the last copy. The two Indian Rafale squadrons have become fully operational.

Intense Dialogue Between Paris And New Delhi

As part of the fourth annual India-France defence dialogue in late November in Delhi, the Minister of Armed Forces S├ębastien Lecornu met with his Indian counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The two ministers discussed ways to strengthen maritime cooperation and increase the complexity of bilateral exercises. They also discussed industrial defence cooperation, including the "Make in India". they discussed future cooperation and possibilities for co-production. The two ministers agreed that the technical groups of the two countries should meet in early 2023 to advance key issues of cooperation. The day before this dialogue, on November 27, a high-level French delegation led by S├ębastien Lecornu had visited the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. " This visit made it possible to consolidate bilateral strategic relations between the two countries Said the Indian Ministry of Defence.

For his part, General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Defence Staff, visited France from November 14 to 17, 2022. During his four-day visit, he met his counterpart and senior French military officials, including the Chief of the Defence Staff, with the aim of strengthening defence cooperation between the two country. He also deposited a wreath at the Indian memorial of Neuve Chapelle, which commemorates the sacrifice of 4,742 Indian soldiers during the First World War.

Dassault Aviation, the maker of Rafale, is confident that Rafale can be approved for the Indian Navy’s warship INS Vikrant. Rafale M is still being used by the armies of Greece, Indonesia and UAE. The special thing is that the Navy has rejected the American jet F / A-18 Super Hornet. Both the jets were trialled by the Navy earlier this year. A detailed report of this trial was submitted to the Defense Ministry of India in December. Both fighter jets were tested at INS Hansa, a naval base in Goa.

The Navy believes that Rafale can meet its needs much better. The Navy wants to remove 43 out-of-date Russian fighter jets MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB from its fleet. The Navy had several aircraft names in mind but the final race was between the Rafale M and the F-18. The French Navy currently has 240 Rafale M jets. Dassault started manufacturing these jets from the year 1986.

Both the jets are already deployed on advanced aircraft carriers. In such a situation, both jets are fit for aircraft carriers equipped with CATOBARs system. The Navy currently has a new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and an older INS Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya is a Kyiv class aircraft carrier of the Soviet Union which has been modernized in India. Both these warships are STOBAR aircraft carriers.

Fighter jets can make an arrested landing on a carrier equipped with the CATOBAR system. Although STOBAR-equipped carriers have arresting gears, the lack of catapults makes it difficult for jets to take off in confined spaces. The jets on both carriers are able to take off with the help of a ski jump. This is where Rafael M has nailed it. At present, the Navy has deployed its MiG-29 fleet on INS Vikramaditya.

The Rafale M had successfully carried out a series of manoeuvres on the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush just a few days ago. Both Super Hornet and Rafale M are equipped with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The RBE2-AA radar is fitted in the Rafale M. This radar can scan and track targets on air, sea and land. Rafael M is heavy on Super Hornet due to its visual range.