Indian Navy is looking to buy Scalp long-range cruise missile as part of the weapons package for the 26 Rafale-Ms being bought for the indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, reported the Economic Times.
This comes four months (July), after France offered local production of submarine-launched Naval Scalp missiles, for the three additional Scorpene submarines that the navy is buying from France.
Just last month (28 October), India submitted a letter of request (LoR) to French government to buy 26 Rafale-M fighter for INS Vikrant.
According to the report, negotiations are underway between the navy and MBDA, Scalp missile manufacturer, for acquisition of these missiles as part of the weapons package for 26 Rafale-Ms.
These missiles will give the navy a significant capability boost compared to the Mig-29K, KH-31 combination. Scalp missiles have a strike range of more than 300 kilometres.
Scalp missiles have also demonstrated their effectiveness in various wars, with the most recent being the Ukraine-Russia war, where the French supplied missiles were successfully able to destroy a ship and a submarine docked at a naval station and Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet headquarters.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) already operates Scalp missiles, bought with the thirty-six Rafale fighters acquired in 2016.
While the IAF Rafales can carry two Scalp missiles, its naval variant, the Rafale-M, can carry only one Scalp missile.
Scalp missiles are stealth long-range fire and forget missiles which carries a warhead of 450 kg, that can destroy heavily defended, high-value enemy targets like command and control centres, ammunition depots, petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) dumps and bunkers.
Apart from the air-launched Scalp, its submarine-launched variant is also on offer to the navy, for use from the scorpene class submarines.
The submarine-launched variant has a strike range of close to 1,000 kilometres.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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