A meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh, has today approved three proposals for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft from France to boost Indian Navy’s operational capabilities. The mega project was cleared by the top defence body on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his two-day visit to Paris.

The DAC granted ‘acceptance of necessity’ (AoN) for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft, along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French government based on Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA).

The price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries. The overall value of the deal is expected to be around ₹90,000 crore.

Further, the integration of Indian-designed equipment and the establishment of maintenance, repair & operations (MRO) hubs for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations.

The DAC also granted the ‘acceptance of necessity’ (AoN) for the procurement of three additional ‘Scorpene submarines’ under the Buy (Indian) category, which will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).

The procurement of additional submarines, with higher indigenous content, will not only help in maintaining required force level and operational readiness of the Indian Navy, but also create significant employment opportunities in the domestic sector. It will also help the Mazagon in further enhancing its capability and expertise in submarine construction.

In addition, the DAC gave its the proposal to lay down guidelines for achieving the desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases. It will help in achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in critical manufacturing technologies and life-cycle sustenance of defence platforms/equipment through indigenous manufacturing.

Notably, earlier in June 2023, German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) had signed an agreement with Mumbai-based warship manufacturer Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders to jointly bid for a submarine tender of the Indian Navy. The two companies intend to build submarines powered by air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology.

As part of the deal, Thyssenkrupp will contribute to the engineering and design of the submarines and the consultancy support to this joint project. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders would take responsibility for constructing and delivering the six submarines. The contract is estimated to be around $5.2 billion (₹43,000 crore).

The construction of the submarines would take place in India and is expected to have significant local content, the defence public sector undertaking said. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders will take responsibility for constructing and delivering the respective submarines.

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