India and France will sign this week a deal for the purchase of 26 Dassault Rafale M naval fighter aircraft for the Bharatiya Nau Sena (IN, Indian Naval Air Arm).
On Jul. 13 and 14, 2023 in fact Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in France to sign a defence-industrial road map to push India to scale up its manufacturing of hardware platforms. In addition to this roadmap agreement, the two countries will sign the deal for 26 Rafale M fighter jets.
Scramble Magazine reports that all the 26 Rafale M fighters will be single-seater versions. Indian Navy pilots will be trained in France as well as on advanced simulators at INS Hansa (Goa). It is understood that one squadron of eighteen aircraft will be onboard INS Vikrant (R11) and the remaining eight will be based at INS Hansa as reserves for rotation.
The Rafale Ms would replace the Indian Naval Air Arm MiG-29Ks that are facing problems with engines and electronic control systems. These issues resulted in serviceability of the airplanes varying between 16 per cent and 39 per cent meaning that out of fleet 10 fighters only 3 were normally available for operations at given time.
On Jul. 7, four Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF, Indian Air Force) Rafale fighter jets arrived at Base Aérienne 105 d’Évreux Commandant Viot (BA105), France.
Always according to Scramble Magazine, on invitation, because this year will mark 25 years of strategic partnership with France, the IAF flew to France to participate in the upcoming Jul. 14 parade which will include formation fly-overs by military aircraft and helicopters over Paris.
Every year France invites several nations to participate in Bastille Day celebrations. This year, India has a prominent role. Three Rafales will fly, alongside a single French Rafale, in the second formation right after the opening by the Patrouille de France.
The Indian Rafale aircraft and personnel are mainly consisting out of IAF’s No. 101 Squadron “Falcons” based at Jalpaguiri/Hashimara Air Force Station (AFS) in the States of West Bengal and the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE, IAF’s test unit based at Bangalore/Yelahanka AFS).
Along with IAF’s Rafales two Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft are due to take part in the parade. On Jul. 14 some hundred aircraft and helicopters can be seen flying over Paris.
Photo credit: U.S. Navy