Navy Rafale-Marine Fighter Jet flight tests for the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant
The navy version of the French-made Rafale fighter jet was successfully flight tested at a shore facility in Goa where conditions similar to those of the locally developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant were simulated, a senior diplomat has said. .
The Rafale-M is pitted against the American-made Super Hornet – both being evaluated for possible purchase by the Indian Navy for deployment on the 44,000-ton INS Vikrant which is under consideration. trials in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal for probable commissioning in August.
“Tests were carried out to verify its (capacity) for take-off (of the Rafale-Marine) from the deck of your aircraft carrier (from India) and it worked very well,” said the French ambassador in India Emmanuel Lenain to journalists Tuesday evening in Calcutta in a free conversation.
India’s new carrier was designed as a ski-jump launcher, unlike many other such carriers, which use a catapult for their jets. The aircraft selected by the Indian Navy must therefore be capable of taking off in this way, carrying all weapon systems and a full fuel load.
The Rafale-M jet was tested for 12 days last month at the INS Hansa facility in Goa using a 283-meter simulated ski jump facility, Lenain said.
The ski jump ramp uses what naval experts call Short Takeoff But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) technology.
Boeing’s Super Hornet or F/A-18, which is also being offered to India, is expected to undergo similar tests at INS Hansa next month.
The suppliers have made modifications to the Rafale-M and Super Hornet to make them suitable for the Indian order, defense sources told the PTI news agency.
The Indian Navy was looking for an aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and precision-guided bombs, they said.
The navy initially wants to buy 26 jets for its aircraft carrier, while in 2017 it launched a request for information (RFI) for 57 multirole aircraft capable of being launched from aircraft carriers.
The RFI was issued as the Navy will phase out the MiG-29Ks, currently used on INS Vikramaditya – a modified Kiev-class carrier – in 2034.
Ambassador Lenain pointed out that the Indian Air Force was already using Rafale fighter jets and “was very happy with the aircraft”.
Since the Indian Air Force has Rafale jets, a naval command would rely on commonalities, he said.
“We have already supplied 35 Rafale during the last order and we will complete it by sending the 36th before the April deadline,” he said.
India had in 2016 ordered the jets from Dassault in flying condition.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)