The Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked the French firm Dassault, the original manufacturer of the fighter, to integrate indigenous weapons on Rafale fighter jets. The move could be a big success for 'Make in India' in defence and also open the global market for Indian weapons

In line with the Centre's 'Make in India' program, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked Dassault Aviation to integrate indigenous weapons such as Astra, a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, and Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) with Rafale fighter jets, top government officials informed.

The Rafale, a 4.5-generation fighter aircraft, currently has a diverse array of European weapons in its inventory including Meteor air-to-air missiles and other air-to-ground weapons.

After the successful integration of indigenous weapons with the Rafale, India can also explore the possibilities of exporting these sophisticated weapons to other countries, which include Egypt, Qatar, Greece, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Currently, the IAF operates 36 Rafale jets stationed in Ambala and Hasimara air bases in Haryana and West Bengal respectively.

In addition, the Indian Navy will also be procuring 26 Rafale-M fighter jets which will be operated from the Indian Navy's two aircraft carriers-- INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya-- which currently operates MiG-29K.