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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Amid growing PR media activated by the rival Boeing in support of its F-18 offer to the Indian Navy, Dassault Aviation has offered its Rafale M to meet the Indian Navy’s requirements for 27 deck-based fighter jets and has confirmed that Rafale M has a commonality factor of 95% with the Rafale jets in terms of components and systems that will reduce the need for additional ground equipment or tooling to maintain the fleet as Indian navy and Indian Air force can save money with standardization of the jet.

idrw.org has been told that Dassault highlighted that Rafale M and Mig-29K both are sub-25-ton class of aircraft so will be TEDBF that the Indian Navy plans to develop to replace Mig-29K so it won’t require additional heavier ground equipment for towing or storage at land facilities.

What could be a bone of contention is that Rafale M is not available in Twin seater configuration for deck-based operations but the French Navy uses Airforce facility and Rafale B Twin seater Trainer aircraft for joint training of its pilots and is willing to offer it facility to the Indian Navy for its pilot intake if IAF is not able to accommodate.

Rafale M was in Goa for demonstration flights earlier this year and has demonstrated the ability to carry a 3.5ton of payload from the shore-based facility created to mimic an aircraft carrier at INS Hansa Naval Base. Weapons procured by IAF for its Rafale fleet can be also used on Rafale M and vice versa which will reduce inventory management and boost interoperability of both forces.

Rafale M features a reinforced undercarriage to cope with the additional stresses of naval landings, and an arrestor hook that makes it slightly bulky with an Overall empty weight increase of 300kg when compared to the AF version. Rafale M can’t fold its multi-spar wings to reduce storage space but Dassault claims aircraft can fit in the lift on both the Indian aircraft carriers and also hangar space behind the deck.

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