POLITICS

India gives ‘Letter of Request’ to France for buying 26 Rafale-M fighter jets for Navy

As per the proposal, the Indian Navy will get 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft along with four trainer aircraft.

In a significant development, India has given the Letter of Request to the French government for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine fighter aircraft for the Indian Navy under a government-to-government deal.

The Letter of Request was delivered to the French government a few days back and they are expected to decide on the Indian request and respond in the near future, top defence sources told ANI.

The LoR is like a tender document in which the Indian government has specified all its requirements and capabilities that it would want to have in the Rafale Marine aircraft being acquired for the aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya, they said.

The Indian Navy and the Indian government are working in a fast-track mode to ensure that the acquisition contract is signed at the earliest and Indian carriers can operate the highly capable aircraft to ensure an edge for New Delhi in the Indian Ocean region. The aircraft deal worth around Euro 5.5 billion was cleared by the defence acquisition council just before the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to France as the state guest for their Bastille Day parade this year in July. 

As per the proposal, the Indian Navy will get 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft along with four trainer aircraft. The aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant have been operating the MiG-29s and need the Rafales for operations on both carriers.

India would be requesting the integration of its indigenous missiles including the Astra air-to-air missile as part of the package from France. The configuration of the aircraft is expected to be similar to what has been provided to the Indian Air Force.

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