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Dassault Aviation, the renowned French aircraft manufacturer, has extended its support to India in the development of a 26-ton Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) for the Indian Navy. The TEDBF is intended to replace the Russian-origin MiG-29K fighter jets currently in service on India’s aircraft carriers. Dassault, which is already in the running to supply the Indian Navy with 26 Rafale M carrier-based fighter jets, has offered its expertise in the development of the TEDBF.

The Indian Navy’s MiG-29K fleet has been facing challenges in terms of maintenance and logistical issues, prompting the need for a reliable and advanced replacement. Dassault, with its experience in developing the carrier-based Rafale M fighter jet, is well-positioned to provide valuable assistance to India in the development of the TEDBF but it is unclear if India will be interested in taking help from Dassault.

India’s Aeronautical Development Agency has gained significant experience from the successful development of the LCA-Navy Technological Demonstrator, a single-engine aircraft capable of landing and taking off from Indian aircraft carriers. Building upon this experience, India aims to develop the TEDBF, a twin-engine fighter aircraft in the same class as the Rafale M.

The Indian Navy has committed to procuring 45 units of the TEDBF from 2035 onwards to replace its MiG-29K fleet. Additionally, plans are in place to acquire an additional 55 units for deployment on a proposed third aircraft carrier, which India intends to develop in response to growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

In addition to the TEDBF for the Navy, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has also offered the Indian Air Force (IAF) the ORCA, an Air Force variant of the TEDBF. However, the IAF has not shown substantial interest in the program thus far.

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