Rafale M-jets

22 single-seat fighters will join aircraft carriers and the remaining four will be twin-seater trainers; purchase of three more Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines from France also gets approval

Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to land in Paris on Thursday, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), approval for the procurement of 26 Rafale-M fighters, which will be operated off the aircraft carriers, and three additional Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines from France.

“The DAC granted acceptance of necessity [AoN] for procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft, along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French government based on Inter-Governmental Agreement [IGA],” a Defence Ministry statement said. “The price and other

terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries.”

Customisation clauses

Further, integration of Indian-designed equipment and establishment of a maintenance, repair and operations hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations.

The DAC granted the AoN for procurement of three additional Scorpenes under the Buy (Indian) category. In addition, the DAC approved a proposal to lay down guidelines for achieving the desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases.

The 26 Rafale-M fighters will include 22 single-seater jets and four twin- seater trainers, defence officials said. However, the Rafale trainers are not carrier-compatible.

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