SOURCE: SRINIVAS GOWDA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Indian Navy for its requirement of 26 fighter jets for operations from its two aircraft carriers is stuck with two jets on offer that it might not like to procure. Rafale M could have been a clear winner since the type is already with the Indian Air Force and commonality could have saved a lot of foreign exchange for the Navy in terms of training and maintenance of these jets but that now seems near impossible due to technical reasons and limitations of the Rafale M.
Boeing Super hornet might seem the only option left for the Navy but, strangely, the Navy is not exploring other option that not only meets its requirements but also can be operated from the lifts of both the aircraft carrier that were designed especially for the operations of the Russian Mig-29K.
F-35C, a carrier-based variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has a wingspan of 9.1m when folded and an even smaller length of just 15.5m that could have been easy to accommodate and comes with a smaller footprint on the deck of the aircraft carrier where real estate is a luxury. F-35C has the same footprint as a Mig-29K on the deck of both aircraft carriers and could have easily accommodated on smaller aircraft carriers as the Indian Navy operates.
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