NEW DELHI: India is planning to buy as many as 26
fighter aircraft and three Scorpene class conventional submarines for its Navy, sources told ANI ahead of PM Modi’s two-day visit to France.
The proposals for the purchase have been placed before the defence ministry by the armed forces and are likely to be announced during the visit, government sources said.
As per the proposals, the
will get 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft along with four trainer aircraft.
The Navy had been pressing for acquiring these fighter aircraft and submarines urgently as they have been facing strategic shortages in view of various security challenges, especially the threat posed by China in the Indian Ocean Region.
The aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant have been operating the MiG-29s and need the Rafales for operations on both carriers.
Meanwhile, the three Scorpene class submarines would be acquired under the repeat clause by the Navy as part of Project 75 where they would be built in the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai.
The deals are estimated to be worth over Rs 90,000 crore but the final cost would be clear only after the contract negotiations are completed after the deal is announced.
Sources said the government is likely to seek price concessions in the deal and would be insisting on having more ‘Make-in-India’ content in the plan.
Industry sources said for the Rafale M deal, India and France are expected to form a joint team to negotiate the deal like it was done for the previous Rafale deal for 36 fighter aircraft.
The proposals have been discussed in the defence ministry at high-level meetings already and are likely to be placed before the defence acquisition council in the next few days and expected to be accorded Acceptance of Necessity by the government before the announcement in France.
Last year, the naval version of Rafale fighter jets from France and American F/A-18 Super Hornet had both demonstrated their operational capabilities.
The Indian Navy recorded its options and submitted a report to the government for a final decision on acquiring the best fighter for its newly-launched aircraft carrier.
Rafale-M, like F/A-18, is adapted at short take-off and arrested recovery technology required for deck deployment on INS Vikrant, which uses an upward curve ramp to launch.
Rafale-M has superior air power as compared to the present MIG-29K deployed on the aircraft carrier.
The PM will be in France on July 13-14 during which he will be the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade.
(With inputs from ANI)