India to test Rafale M for new indigenous INS Vikrant aircraft carrier

Rafale ski jump test India
French Navy Rafale M lands on the flight deck of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

The Rafale M multirole fighter aircraft is expected to begin flight tests in India this week to demonstrate its ability to operate from the Indian Navy's new INS Vikrant aircraft carrier, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1). The Rafale, which has already been ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF), is the favorite to win in India's Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter (MRCBF) competition, which involves the purchase of 57 new jets for the Navy.

According to Indian officials, the Rafale M is expected to begin trials on January 6 at the Indian Naval Station (INS) Hansa in southwestern Goa, which includes a ski-jump ramp and cable arresting system similar to those on Indian aircraft carriers. Based on the results of these assessments, New Delhi will most likely choose which of the Rafale or Super Hornet will be most suitable to be embarked on the IAC-1, which should be launched next August.

The Boeing Super Hornet is expected to conduct the same tests at the same facility next March, however, the American fighter appears to be at a disadvantage compared to the French one. The Rafale is already highly regarded in India as the IAF was able to test the capabilities of the aircraft in the operational theater. In 2020, India deployed five of them to the Ladakch region to quell tensions with China. The Rafale M will also be able to benefit from the same support services already acquired for the IAF fleet.

Although the IAC-1 appears to have been designed to accommodate the current MiG-29K fighter which is smaller in size than the Super Hornet and Rafale, the maintenance and service issues that are plaguing the Russian fighter will likely lead India to make the necessary modifications to embar larger aircraft.

According to Hindustan Times, the Indian Navy could try and lease "four to five" Rafale Ms from France this year, which would allow crews to become familiar with operations from the land base of INS Hansa, including launch and recovery, while the INS Vikrant undergoes the required adaptations.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

No comments

All comments related to the contents of our articles are welcome. It is not allowed to post promotional messages, links to external sites, or references to activities not related to this blog.

Powered by Blogger.