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Eye on mega deal with Navy, Dassault will fly Rafale Marine to India in 2022 for showcase trip

French defence giant Dassault Aviation is likely to bring the naval version of the Rafale aircraft to India in early 2022 to showcase its ability to carry out a ski-jump, which is a crucial take-off capability to operate from Indian aircraft carriers, ThePrint has learnt. Sources in the defence establishment said Dassault, which is eyeing a mega contract with the Indian Navy for new fighters, has offered to bring the Rafale M (Marine) to India. The Navy plans to procure new fighters to replace the Russian MiG 29Ks. “The Rafale M will not take off from the aircraft carrier (during the showcase) but from the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa, Goa. The Dassault Aviation is confident and wanted to showcase their capability in India itself,” a source said. The sources added that the dates are yet to be worked out but Dassault has offered to bring the Rafale M as early as January, if needed. Carrier-based fighters primarily come in three categories — STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing), STOBAR (Short Take-off but Arrested Recovery) and CATOBAR (catapult take-off but arrested recovery).

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