New Delhi, Sept 22: In the USD 5 billion tenders to buy 26 combat aircraft, the report of the extensive trials of the French Rafale and American F-18 planes is being evaluated by the Indian Navy headquarters. The aircraft is planned to be acquired under a govt - to - govt deal by the Navy for operations from its latest aircraft carrier INS Vikrant commissioned recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi.
"The extensive trial was held by a naval team in Goa for both the fighter aircraft Rafale and F-18. The report is with the headquarters and is being eventuated for final shortlisting," reports ANI. The evaluation is to see whether the aircraft has met the technical specifications of the naval requirements or not, they said.
The American aircraft are built for carriers weighing around one lakh tonnes while the French Rafale is made for 60,000 tonne-size carriers. The Navy has MiG - 29Ks which operate from the INS Vikramaditya and also don't have a very strong serviceability record and their numbers are considered to be sufficient only for one carrier.
The trial report would determine the winner of the competition which was earlier planned for around 57 planes but now has been reduced to 26 only. The last time the two planes took part in an Indian tender, the Rafale had emerged as a winner but that deal could not be completed due to technical issues.