French and Indian Defense Officials Discussed Acquisition of 26 Rafale Marine Aircraft for Indian Navy

29 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava

Rafale-M National

As part of the Rafale-M procurement package from France, India aims to integrate its indigenous missiles, including the Astra air-to-air missile.

Following India’s approval to procure 26 Rafale Marine aircraft for the Indian Navy, a team led by officials from the French defense ministry engaged in discussions with their Indian counterparts. The French delegation, led by an official responsible for Asia within the Directorate General of Armament, met with Indian Navy personnel, who are the intended users of the aircraft. This meeting, which occurred last week, covered several key points related to the Defense Cyber Agency (Dcya).

A team from the French defense ministry recently visited India for discussions. The meeting, held last week, included representatives from both sides, including the French team led by an official overseeing Asia within their Directorate General of Armament.

Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Janak Bevli is representing the Indian Navy in the negotiations with France. The process involves forming a contract negotiation team, similar to the approach taken during the 2016 Indian Air Force deal. This interaction marks the first encounter between the two parties since India officially announced its intention to purchase 26 Rafale Marine aircraft, subsequent to the approval granted during the Defence Acquisition Council meeting.

The next steps include the Indian side sending a letter of request or proposal to the French government, with an eight-week cutoff following DAC approval. Prior to this approval, India and France have held numerous discussions. The French Rafale emerged victorious over the American F-18, securing the Indian contract.

France has expressed its capability to increase production rates to 30 aircraft per year from the existing 18, if necessary. Notably, the French Rafale had previously received orders from various countries after being selected by India for its 126 Multirole combat aircraft deal, a selection process characterized by rigorous trials.

As part of the procurement package from France, India aims to integrate its indigenous missiles, including the Astra air-to-air missile. The aircraft’s configuration is anticipated to resemble what has been provided to the Indian Air Force.

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