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Procurement of 26 Rafale jets for Indian Navy approved


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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian defence ministry today approved the proposed procurement of 26 Naval variant of Rafale jets from France, people familiar with the development said.

The project was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins a two-day visit to Paris.

The DAC, which is the defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement, also cleared a proposal for construction of three more Scorpene submarines in India.

The mega defence projects are expected to be announced after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.

The DAC's approval to the projects came around a week after they were cleared by the Defence Procurement Board (DPB).

The Indian Navy is looking for procurement of 26 deck-based fighter jets for indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

After a lengthy process, the Navy had narrowed down on Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and French aerospace major Dassault Aviation's Rafale M aircraft for the procurement.

Later, Rafale-M, the naval variant of the lethal jet, emerged as the winner in the tight race.

India has already procured 36 Rafale jets from France for the Indian Air Force.

The Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

Another important project with France would be the follow on order of three Scorpene submarines.

Under Project 75, six Scorpene submarines have already been made in India.

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