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Indian Navy to go for govt-to-govt route for procurement of deck-based aircraft

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant goes for a sea trial, ahead of its commissioning into the Indian Navy, in Kochi, Saturday, July 2, 2022. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Indian Navy is in the process of procuring a fleet of deck-based fighter jets under the government-to-government route for its indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant, people familiar with the development have said.

They said on Tuesday the Navy has shortlisted Boeing's F/A-18E Super Hornet and Rafale M aircraft produced by the French aerospace major Dassault Aviation for the procurement.

Both the aircraft had demonstrated their operational capabilities at a naval facility in Goa and the Navy is now preparing a detailed report on their performance.

"Based on the report, we will move forward on the procurement process," said one of the people cited above, adding the acquisition will be under the government-to-government framework.

In May, two Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft showcased their operational capability at the naval facility in Goa while a similar exercise was carried out by the Rafale maritime fighter jet in January.

"The trials are being done because the Navy requires aircraft which can take off from carriers," Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade said when asked about the procurement.

Over four years ago, the Indian Navy had initiated the process to acquire 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its aircraft carrier.

However, it is learnt that the number could be around 30 initially.

The Indian Navy plans to procure the deck-based jets for IAC Vikrant that is likely to be commissioned in August.

At present, the Navy operates Russian-origin MiG-29K fighters from its sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

The Request For Information issued by the Navy for procurement of the deck-based fighter jets sought to know at what level of Transfer of Technology the companies are willing to share with India.

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