Defence

India seeks lower cost for Rafale-M jets amid ₹56,000 Cr French proposal

These carrier-borne Rafale planes are intended as a stopgap measure until India develops its own indigenous carrier-borne fighter jet, the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter.

The Indian Ministry of Defence is actively negotiating to lower the acquisition cost of Rafale-M jets, selected to meet the Indian Navy’s needs for aircraft carrier-borne combat aircraft. The Economic Times reported that the second round of price negotiations is underway, with India aiming to secure a better deal following France’s bid of around ₹56,000 crore for 26 fighter jets.

These fighter jets are urgently required for India’s two operational aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. The current fleet of MiG 29K fighters has been underperforming due to maintenance issues, necessitating a more reliable replacement.

Rafale-M Jets
Image Source: Defence News



After trials of both the Rafale M and the F/A 18 Super Hornet from US’ Boeing, the Navy selected the French option. This led to detailed techno-commercial negotiations earlier this year. The Rafale M jets will be customized to meet Indian requirements and integrated into the Russian-origin Aviation Facility Complex (AFC) on the aircraft carriers, posing some technical challenges.

Operational Integration with Indian Defense Forces

The jets will be bought off the shelf as the numbers are insufficient to justify setting up a production line in India. However, France has offered to establish a production line if the order increases to around a hundred aircraft, pitching a larger deal for the Rafale fighters.

The Rafale is already operational with the Indian Air Force, which ordered 36 jets in 2016 for nearly ₹59,000 crore. France is strongly advocating for India to acquire more Rafale jets. The Air Force has a requirement for 114 fighter jets of the same type but is currently considering a competitive bidding process for the acquisition.

These carrier-borne Rafale planes are intended as a stopgap measure until India develops its own indigenous carrier-borne fighter jet, the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter. This indigenous initiative is projected to take about a decade to go operational.

The negotiations aim to balance cost-effectiveness with the urgent operational needs of the Indian Navy, ensuring the country’s defense capabilities are enhanced without excessive expenditure.

You might also be interested in – Rafale’s Make-in-India efforts gain momentum

Vaishnavi

Hello! I study history, love mountains, and all things art.

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