With the commissioning of the INS Vikrant earlier this year, the Indian Navy has bumped up its capabilities to be on par at the world stage. INS Vikrant And INS Vikramaditya aircraft carriers have demonstrated dual operations, making India the second country to achieve this milestone.
At the moment the INS Vikrant and Vikramaditya are operating Mig 29K fighter aircraft along with Ka 31 helicopters. The Mig 29K fighter's have been plagued with engine malfunctions and poor operational availability.
The Indian Navy is actively seeking to replace these fighters with newer and more capable multi-role fighter aircraft.
The potential replacements had been the American F18 Super Hornet and French Rafale. The Indian navy conducted extensive trials and tests of the both aircraft back in June of 2022.
Statement on July 13 2023 by the Defense Aquisition Council
The Indian Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), held under the chairmanship of Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh, had granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft.
This meant that the Ministry of Defence(MOD) had given the go ahead for the purchase and it is now up to the Navy to make final the purchase.
The Indian Air Force(IAF) has been operating 36 Rafales from several years and has been left extremely impressed and satisfied with it's performance.
The Indian Military wants to integrate all three branches- Army, Navy and Air Force. This purchase will be a step in this direction, as the same support infrastructure used by the Air Force for it's Rafales can be used for the Indian Navy's Rafales.
There will be less training required for Crews and maintenance staff, reduced need for spare parts, allowing for more inter-operability between the Navy and Airforce ,leading to continuity among the forces, hence pushing for a more unified Indian Military!