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India selects French Rafale fighter for its carriers

Photo: Dassault Aviation

The Indian Government announced its decision to equip the Indian Navy with the French Rafale fighter on July 14.

Following a trial campaign in India, the Indian Government chose the naval version of the Rafale as the latest-generation fighter to equip the aircraft carrier wings.

The Indian Navy will incorporate 26 Rafale aircraft, joining the existing 36 Rafale already in service, aligning with France to operate both versions of the aircraft.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our partnership with the Indian Forces, I would like to thank the Indian authorities for this new mark of confidence and pledge, on behalf of Dassault Aviation, that we will fully meet the Indian Navy’s expectations with the Rafale”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

The Rafale is an “omnirole” aircraft that can perform a multitude of missions, ranging from air-to-air combat, through maritime strike to nuclear deterrence using the ASMP-A nuclear air-launched cruise missile.

The Rafale aircraft incorporates domestically developed and produced avionics and features, including direct voice input, the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and the optronique secteur frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, as part of the Rafale program.

Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air and Space Force (FASF) in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft.