Indian Navy's Rafale-M Base Price Almost Decided, Will Sport Additional Upgrades

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Jun 27, 2024, 04:04 PM | Updated 04:04 PM IST

Dassault Rafale-M fighter jets over the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Dassault Rafale-M fighter jets over the deck of an aircraft carrier.

India and France have almost come to an agreement on the base price of Dassault Rafale-M fighter jets for the Indian Navy.

A French team arrived in India in late May for price negotiations for the deal. However, the negotiations were delayed until the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Reports are now emerging that the negotiations have borne fruit, and the price of the vanilla Rafale-M or its base variant has almost been decided, likely costing €4 billion which includes the cost of a weapons package and a maintenance contract.

Moreover, the base price agreed upon is equal to the cost of Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafales. IAF bought 36 Rafales, which include 28 single-seater and 8 dual-seater variants in 2016.

This cost, however, does not include the cost of India-specific enhancements, which will increase the cost of these jets well north of €4 billion.

Just like the IAF, the navy has also decided to upgrade the jets with some additional enhancements, likely to make them even more capable and suitable for the Indian Navy's operational environment.

These enhancements include a new helmet-mounted display, and software changes in air-to-sea modes, enabling Rafale-Ms to land on India's aircraft carriers. Changes in its electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) capabilities will also be made, apart from adding new low-band jammers, a better radio altimeter, and new high-frequency decoys.

The Indian Navy requires 26 Rafale fighter jets, which includes 22 navy-specific Rafale-Marine and 4 dual-seater Rafale-Bs for training purposes.

The navy will operate these jets from INS Vikramaditya and the made-in-India INS Vikrant aircraft carriers, alongside 40 odd Russian-made Mig-29K jets.

India's Rafale-Ms will have an impressive weapons package where it will be armed with Scalp-EG medium-range cruise missiles, Meteor long-range and Mica medium and short-range air-to-air missiles, and Hammer laser and infrared-guided bombs.

The price negotiations are being led by a joint-secretary-ranked IAS officer along with a commodore-rank Indian Navy officer.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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