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The winner of the Indian Navy’s Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter (MRCBF) programme to equipped on the INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya might be decided between US Boeing F/18 E/F and Dassault Rafale over Unit cost and life cycle cost of the aircraft after Navy cleared both jets and declared they met technical requirements.

Indian Navy has not made any recommendations between these two jets that put the ball in the court of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that often decides as per the L1 method in the tender process which is often the lowest bidder to is awarded the contract to avoid any legal or corruption allegations but MoD will also likely have a look at the Life cycle cost (LCC) of the aircraft but often, differences in capabilities and wartime attrition, and operating and maintenance costs do not figure in the L1 equation.

The Rafale’s maritime version will have more than 85% commonality with the IAF Rafales but might be more costly than the air force variant since only 45 Rafale-M (single-seaters) have been inducted in the French Navy, such a low production rate won’t make them cheaper than F-18 Super Hornets but going for all American weapons system including short and long-range air to air missiles, Anti-ship missile will cost India more in Weapons package that is not included in bare bone unit cost often mentioned in L1 method.

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