Both Rafale M or F/A-18 Cleared Trials, But Rafael Has An Edge: Indian Navy Chief

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is waiting for the government to take the final decision and choose either Dassault Aviation’s Rafale M or Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet for India’s new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar told ABP Live. “This will be decision of the government. We have said yes to both. Now it’s for the MoD (Ministry of Defence) to decide. Both the aircraft are okay. They have proved themselves. But now there will be other issues, for example, we already have Rafales for the Air Force. Now there will be commonality for spare parts and support etc.,” the Navy Chief added. Asked which one of the aircraft the Navy prefers, Kumar said: “Each has got its own strengths and weaknesses, so let the government decide.”

The Navy Chief added: “We are getting a twin-engine, deck-based fighters being developed in India since we believe in Aatmanirbhar Bharat.” However, he said, the prototype is expected to be ready by 2026-27 and it may be inducted in the Navy by 2034.

The Navy currently operates Russian MiG 29K for INS Vikrant. But it wants to go for a completely indigenous fighter jet in the future and imported Rafale M or Super Hornet will be used only temporarily.

“We have learnt what are the requirements for a carrier-launched aircraft. Since there is a gap between now and the time when the prototype will be completed we was expressed interest for a deck-based fighter and therefore we had Rafale M and F/A-18 doing the trials in Goa,” he said. “The trials were successful and all the points were achieved.”

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Malabar Exercise Will Get ‘More And More Complex’
On the upcoming Malabar Naval Exercise that will be taking place later this year amid rising geopolitical tensions, the Navy Chief said every year the navies of the partner countries — India, Japan, Australia and the US — strive to achieve “some new development”.

He told ABP Live that there are no proposals of any new country joining the Malabar naval war games.

“There have been improvement in the exercises since it began and now it will become more and more complex,” he said.

Sources- abplive

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