NEW DELHI: In a major development, India is planning to buy 26 Rafale fighter aircraft and three Scorpene class conventional submarines from France.

The Navy had been pressing for acquiring these fighter aircraft and submarines urgently as they have been facing shortages in view of the security challenges around the country.

The final price will be determined after officials from both sides sit together to negotiate the commercial contract. Such a mechanism was put in place during the IAF’s 36 Rafale deal.

The Rafale-M aircraft will take-off and land on the decks of India’s two aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. They will serve the Indian Navy till the time India comes out with its own twin-engine deck-based fighter aircraft.

Following extensive trials of Dassault Aviation’s Rafale-M and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet deck borne fighter jets, Indian Navy is learnt to have opted for the former in its report submitted to the Defence Ministry. As per the proposal, the Navy will get 22 fighters and four two-seater trainers.

Rafale-M Features A Number of Other Modifications To Make It Suitable For Carrier Operations, Including:

* A reinforced undercarriage to cope with the stresses of landing on a carrier deck.
* A tail hook for arresting landings.
* A "jump strut" nosewheel, which only extends during short take-offs, including catapult launches.
* A built-in ladder for accessing the cockpit from the carrier deck.
* A carrier-based microwave landing system.
* A new fin-tip Telemir system for syncing the inertial navigation system to external equipment.

The Rafale M is also slightly heavier than the Rafale due to the additional weight of the modifications.

Other Differences Include:

* Different radar system, the Thales RBE2-M, which is optimized for maritime operations.
* Different electronic warfare suite, the Thales SPECTRA, which is also optimized for maritime operations.
* The ability to carry a wider range of weapons, including anti-ship missiles and air-to-surface missiles.