SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.
In the next 2 months, the Indian Navy will decide on the next deck-based fighter aircraft that will operate from the decks of IAC-1 and Russian build INS Vikramaditya. Both Rafale M and F-18 E/F were seen carrying out trials from the Shore Based Test Facility At INS Hansa base here in Goa, where each aircraft demonstrated multiple payloads over two weeks each under the careful eyes of the Naval Team deputed to monitor the trials.
Both jet manufacturers claim to have the upper hand and Dassault certainly can claim one due to the purchase of Rafale by the Indian Air Force but its time for the Navy to be careful with what it purchases after facing serious issues with the Mig-29K fleet that was purchased due to easy availability of the same jet with the Air force.
The Navy has a history of piggybacking on aircraft fleets that are already in with the air force and the same has been seen in the past from Hawk AJT, LCA-Navy to Mig-29K purchases but it is also important that this time Navy decides on the next fighter jets for its aircraft carrier-based that meets its operational requirements till the time TEDBF is ready.
LCA-Navy to Mig-29K are reasons why TEDBF is becoming a standalone program that has been designed and developed keeping the Navy’s requirements in mind and the same should be done while the Navy decides between Rafale M and F-18 E/F.
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