France offers Rafale’s naval version

Even as controversy rages in India over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Air Force through an inter-governmental agreement, a French Admiral has made a pitch for the naval variant of the fighter to the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy is on the look out for 57 carrier-borne multi-role fighter jets and a request for information was sent out last year for the same. It is expected to come out with an RFP (request for proposal) very soon. Rear Admiral Gilles Boidevezi, in charge of the French Navy’s international relations wing, said here ahead of the Euronaval exhibition next month that the French and Indian Navies shared a strategic and operational military partnership and it would be good to have a partner use the same platform as them (the French) as it would make interoperability easier. “And, Rafale M (the naval variant) is an adaptable aircraft that can be integrated with any carrier. Recently, it conducted operations on a much bigger aircraft carrier of the U.S. Navy,” he said.

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