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New Delhi, July 13 The Defence Acquisition Council has given its preliminary approval for the purchase of 26 Rafale-Marine fighter jets and three Scorpene diesel-electric submarines for the Indian Navy.
Earlier, the proposals were discussed during high-level meetings at the Defence Ministry, following which they were place before the Council headed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Last year, the naval version of Rafale fighter jets from France and American F/A-18 Super Hornet had both demonstrated their operational capabilities.
An agreement for the purchase is likely to be signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to France which began on Thursday.
Earlier, when India purchased 36 Rafale jets from France, they were for the Indian Air Force.
Through this deal, the Indian Navy is likely to get 22 single-seater Rafale Marine aircraft as well as four trainer jets.
According to defence experts, there is an urgent requirement for aircraft and submarines, as the Indian Navy has been facing shortages and needs to shore up its requirements keeping in mind security challenges, especially in the Indian Ocean region.
Aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant have been operating the MiG-29s and need the Rafales for operations on both carriers.
The deals are estimated to be worth over Rs 90,000 crore but the final cost will only be clear only after the contract negotiations are completed, a source added.
The country is likely to seek some concession in the price and may also insist on greater focus on a ‘Make In India’ content in it, an informed official said.
Meanwhile, India is also planning to buy Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for the tri-services from the US.
The DAC on June 15 accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for acquisition of 31 MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Tri-Services from the US through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route.