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SOURCE: AFI

In a significant development for India’s air defense capabilities, India and France have agreed to expedite price negotiations for the purchase of 26 Rafale M (Marine) fighter jets. Both nations acknowledge the importance of the deal and have opted to prioritize it after the upcoming General Elections in India.

The Indian Navy will acquire 22 single-seater Rafale M jets, specifically designed for aircraft carrier operations from IAC-I and II. Additionally, four twin-seater Rafale B (Marine) variants will serve pilot training purposes.

Beyond the immediate acquisition, the talks yielded substantial gains for India’s long-term defense autonomy. France has committed to increasing the sourcing of Rafale components from India, marking a crucial step towards self-reliance. To solidify this commitment, the semi-structural airframe of the Rafale will soon be manufactured and shipped from DRAL to Dassault Aviation.

Further bolstering India’s strategic position, France has agreed to establish an MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) facility for the M-88 engines that power the Rafale jets. This facility will not only cater to India’s needs but also serve as a regional hub for servicing the engines of other Asian Rafale operators.

Overall, the expedited negotiations and increased collaboration signify a robust partnership between India and France. The Rafale deal promises not only to enhance India’s airpower but also to lay the foundation for a more technologically self-reliant defense ecosystem.