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India’s upcoming “Tarang Shakti-2024,” its first-ever multinational air exercise, is set to witness a fascinating rematch between two of the world’s most advanced fighter jets: the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale. This exercise, scheduled for August 2024, will see participation from prominent air forces, including Germany, France, Italy, and the United States.

Both Germany and France have confirmed their participation in Tarang Shakti-2024, bringing their respective Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale jets to Indian skies. This is significant as both aircraft are currently vying for a major deal with the IAF under the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) program, which seeks to acquire 114 fighter jets.

This isn’t the first time these two jets have faced off in India. Both the Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale were cleared by the IAF in previous tenders, demonstrating their technical capabilities. However, Rafale emerged victorious in the previous MRCA tender due to its slightly lower price tag. However, the deal was ultimately cancelled due to concerns regarding technology transfer and manufacturing assurances for Indian partner HAL.

With the MRFA tender still open, Tarang Shakti-2024 offers both manufacturers a valuable opportunity to showcase their aircraft’s capabilities to the IAF and the world. The exercise will involve simulated combat scenarios, allowing for a direct comparison of the jets’ performance in an Indian operational environment.

While Germany and France have officially announced their participation with specific aircraft models, the United States has confirmed its participation without revealing its chosen aircraft. Speculation suggests the USAF might bring the F-16V and F-15EX, also contenders in the MRFA race. However, whispers of a potential appearance by the 5th-generation F-35A have added further intrigue to the exercise.

While the presence of competing fighter jets undoubtedly adds an interesting dimension to Tarang Shakti-2024, it’s important to remember that the exercise’s primary objective is to foster international cooperation and enhance interoperability between participating air forces. The combined training and knowledge sharing will benefit all participants, regardless of the aircraft they fly.

The upcoming exercise promises to be a thrilling display of aerial prowess and strategic collaboration. Whether it definitively settles the Eurofighter vs. Rafale debate remains to be seen. However, it will undoubtedly provide valuable insights for the IAF as it moves forward with its critical MRFA selection process.

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