The Indian Navy is set to bid farewell to its mighty Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft later this month, according to reports in India. The move comes as no surprise, since the aircraft – nicknamed Albatross in India – are being replaced by Boeing P-8i aircraft.
India received eight Tu-142s from Soviet hands back in 1988. The Tu-142 is basically a navalized and lengthened variant of the famous Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber. Only three have remained in Indian service over recent years. On 29 March, the curtains also falls for these three aircraft.
India has ordered 12 fare more advanced Boeing P-8i Poseidons. The Tu-142 farewell fits perfectly into the modernisation efforts by the Indian Navy, which is also seeking 57 new multirole fighter jets for operations on board its current and future aircraft carriers.
Despite continued criticism on the jet’s performance, India still seems to have enough confidence in its indigenous Tejas fighter jet to open up a second production line. Meanwhile, Swedish Saab is offering its Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to be installed in the Tejas.
The government in New Delhi has just cleared a 200 million USD investment to open up a second Tejas production line next to the existing one at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The news was announced on this week at the Aero India airshow in Bengaluru.
The Tejas jets produced, will solely be used the Indian Air Force, since the Indian Navy has rejected the naval variant and is now looking for 57 new fighter jets elsewhere. The Dassault Rafale and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet are likely candidates.
Saab hopes to sell the Indians its Gripen fighter jets instead. Possibly to win Indian harts, the Swedes now also offer their Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar plus an additional electronic warfare suite for use in the Tejas.
India has started the process of selecting and acquiring 57 multirole, carrier-borne fighter jets for operations on board its current and future aircraft carriers. A Request for Information (RfI) was issued this week by the Directorate of Naval Air Staff. The request follows the Indian Navy rejection of the indigenously developed Tejas fighter jet.
The RfI states that the new jets are intended as day and night capable, all weather multirole deck-based combat aircraft which can be used for air defense, air to surface operations and buddy refuelling, plus recce and electronic warfare missions.
India currently operates a single aircraft carrier named INS Vikramaditya. In 2018, INS Vikrant is to be added to the fleet, with nuclear powered INS Vishal to join by 2025.
India already ordered 45 MiG-29K Fulcrums to operate from these carriers, but now is looking for additional jets. At first, those were to be naval variants of India’s locally developed Tejas fighter jet, but the Indian Navy top brass have shown no confidence in the design whatsoever and finally rejected it in late 2016.
The naval version of the Dassault Rafale may be the perfect choice for the Indian Navy, given the fact the Indian Air Force has already ordered the Rafale. However, negotiations for this deal lasted many years.
France and India on Friday 23 September signed a contract finalizing the acquisition by India of 36 Rafales, compromising 28 single seat and 8 two seater aircraft. The contract ends a proces that has caused headaches in both countries for years, but especially since Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, in April 2015 said his country would purchase the Rafale.
Actually, India chose the Rafale three years before, when in 2012 the French jet came out winning a competition with other fighter jets that already started in 2007. According to Dassault, the new contract ‘demonstrates the strategic relationship and the exemplary partnership between the two countries, and marks the natural culmination of a relationship of trust born in 1953 when India became the first export customer of Dassault Aviation’.
But trust seemed hard to find over the last few years, when fact and fiction about the pending deal became very hard to distinguish from each other. At times, negotiations seemed to be fought out in the media, rather than over the negotiation table. Price, technology transfer and difficulties over license production in India were at the hard of tough talks.
In the midst of this, India saw delivery of newly updated Dassault Mirage 2000s. In the Indian Air Force, the new Rafales will mainly update next to Sukhoi Su-30 Flankers.
The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and the French Air Force in 2006. It was proven in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. In 2015 and seemingly putting pressure on India, Dassault managed to sell Rafale to Egypt and Qatar for 24 Rafale each. In mid 2016, 152 Rafale were delivered.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Could it really, really be true after all? Several sources have just confirmed that the Indian cabinet has agreed to the purchade of 36 Dassault Rafales in an 8.8 billion USD deal with France. A contract is said to be signed on Friday in New Delhi, which would concluded one of the most ridicilously long negotiations in defense history ever.
What really is true, is that a deal was said to have been closed several times before. What is also true, is that India has been eyeing the Rafale for much longer than Qatar and Egypt ever have, while the latter two ordered their Rafales last year. Dassault probably gave them a nice discount to lure India in further.
India was once in the market for up to 126 Rafales, but that option was deed to costly. Also, India wanted to produce the aircraft mostly in-country while France was hesitant the transfer the required technology. New Delhi meanwhile studied the Su-30 Flanker, F-18 Hornet, Saab Gripen and Lockheed Martin F-16 also.
It should be interesting to see how the final contract turns out. If there is such a contract, of course.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest