In a significant move to bolster the operational capabilities of the Indian Navy, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given the green light for the acquisition of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft from France. This procurement, along with the approval of three additional Scorpene submarines, aims to strengthen India’s defense capabilities and ensure the nation’s maritime security.
The DAC, headed by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, has sanctioned the purchase of the advanced Rafale Marine aircraft to equip the Indian Navy with state-of-the-art technology. This acquisition will include not only the aircraft themselves but also the necessary associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulators, spares, documentation, crew training, and logistic support.
To negotiate the price and other terms of purchase, discussions will be held with the French Government, taking into consideration the procurement prices of similar aircraft by other nations. The contract will incorporate the integration of Indian-designed equipment, thereby fostering indigenous manufacturing capabilities. Furthermore, a Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO) Hub will be established to provide comprehensive support for various systems.
Simultaneously, the DAC has also given the go-ahead for the procurement of three additional Scorpene submarines under the Buy (Indian) category. These submarines will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), further boosting India’s domestic defense manufacturing sector. With higher indigenous content, these submarines will not only enhance the operational readiness of the Indian Navy but also generate employment opportunities and bolster MDL’s expertise in submarine construction.
The DAC’s decision aligns with the government’s vision to promote self-reliance in critical manufacturing technologies and life-cycle sustenance of defense platforms. The council has laid down guidelines to ensure desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases, thereby strengthening India’s defense industry and reducing dependence on foreign suppliers.
The procurement of the Rafale Marine aircraft and additional Scorpene submarines demonstrates India’s commitment to modernising its armed forces and protecting its maritime interests. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to France is expected to solidify the ties between the two nations and witness the signing of several defense deals, amounting to around ₹90,000 crores. These agreements will further augment India’s defense capabilities, paving the way for a stronger and more secure future.
The Rafale Marine aircraft, a naval variant of the renowned Rafale fighter jet, is specifically designed to operate from aircraft carriers. It boasts advanced features such as multi-role capabilities, enhanced avionics, and state-of-the-art weapons systems, making it a formidable asset for maritime operations. The addition of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft to the Indian Navy’s fleet will significantly enhance its airpower projection and provide a strategic edge in safeguarding India’s maritime interests.
On the other hand, the Scorpene submarines are a class of diesel-electric submarines designed for stealth, endurance, and versatility. These submarines, being constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), are part of a joint venture between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the French company Naval Group. With a higher indigenous content, the Scorpene submarines will not only bolster the Indian Navy’s underwater capabilities but also contribute to the growth of India’s indigenous defense manufacturing industry. Their advanced technologies and operational capabilities will strengthen India’s maritime defense and secure its coastal waters.