Dassault May Bring Naval Version Of Rafale To India To Showcase Ski-Jump Capability For Navy Deal: Report

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 18, 2021 07:16 AM
Dassault May Bring Naval Version Of  Rafale To India To Showcase Ski-Jump Capability For Navy Deal: ReportRafale M (Ann Marie Lazarek/ US Navy)
Snapshot
  • Unsatisfied with the performance of its MiG-29Ks, the Indian Navy has expressed interest in buying new fighters for its carriers.

    The Navy has also aligned its requirements with those of the Indian Air Force, which could see both buying fighters from the same manufacturer to ensure, among other things, economies of scale.

Dassault Aviation, which is in the race to supply new fighter jets to the Indian Navy, may fly the naval version of the Rafale aircraft to India in 2022 to showcase its ability to take-off from a ski-jump platform of the kind that Indian aircraft carriers have, a news report says.

Rafale M is already in service with the French Navy, which uses it from its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Unlike India's two carriers, which use ski-jump platforms (short take-off but arrested recovery or STOBAR) to help aircraft take off from their decks, France's Charles de Gaulle uses catapult-assisted take-off (catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery or CATOBAR).

In the STOBAR system, aircraft are launched from a carrier using their own power with a ski-jump ramp on the bow of the carrier assisting take-off. However, in the CATOBAR system, mechanical assistance is provided to the aircraft for take off using a catapult, which is built into the carrier’s flight deck.

In both these systems, arrestor wires, which rapidly but smoothly decelerate an aircraft as it lands on deck, are used for recovery.

To be considered by the Indian Navy as a replacement for its MiG-29K fleet, Rafale M will have to demonstrate the ability to take off in the STOBAR setting.

The tests will not be performed on Indian aircraft carriers but at a shore-based test facility located at INS Hansa in Goa.

Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the other fighter in the race for the Indian Navy deal, has already demonstrated the ability to operate from the Indian Navy’s STOBAR aircraft carriers.

An F/A-18 fighter took off using a ski-jump platform constructed at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland in August 2020.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III, Boeing says, will give the Indian Navy unique and differentiated capability in the form of an advanced, combat-proven, multi-role naval fighter that is fully compatible with the Indian Navy carriers. The aircraft is in service with the US Navy.

Unsatisfied with the performance of its MiG-29Ks, the Indian Navy has expressed interest in buying new fighters for its carriers.

In 2017, the Navy had said it would buy 57 new fighters for its air arm. However, the number has now been cut to 36 because India is developing its own deck-based fighter aircraft — Twin-Engine Carrier-Based Deck Fighter or TEDBF — and due to financial constraints.

The Navy has also aligned its requirements with those of the Indian Air Force, which could see both buying fighters from the same manufacturer to ensure, among other things, economies of scale.

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