India’s defense ministry has granted initial approval for the purchase of 26 Rafale fighter jets and three Scorpene class submarines from France. The decision comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France, as he seeks to deepen the strategic partnership between the two nations.
The deal includes the acquisition of 26 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter jets, including four trainers, and the production of three Scorpene class submarines by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in collaboration with France’s Naval Group. These purchases are seen as necessary due to the aging fleet of Russian-made platforms in India, maintenance challenges, and delays in indigenous manufacturing plans.
Notably, the marine version of Dassault’s Rafale jets outperformed the American Superhornet F18s in tests, making them an ideal choice for India’s indigenous aircraft carrier. The exact value of the deal has not been disclosed at this time.
India has a longstanding reliance on French fighter jets, with Mirage jets being purchased in the 1980s and still comprising a significant portion of the air force. Additionally, India acquired six Scorpene-class submarines from France in 2005, with the final one set to be commissioned next year.
This approval signifies the strengthening of defense ties between India and France, paving the way for enhanced collaboration and a joint plan to ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The defense deals are expected to contribute to India’s modernization efforts and bolster its defense capabilities.