India and France
Why in the news ?
- India and France have reached a historic agreement in Paris, finalizing a deal for the procurement of 26 Rafale-M fighter jets from France.
- The 26 Rafale-M fighters include 22 single seater jets and four twin-seater trainers.
- France has also given approval for India to purchase three additional diesel-electric submarines of the Scorpene class.
Defense Acquisition Council (DAC)
- The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) is the highest decision-making body in the Ministry of Defense, responsible for formulating new policies and approving capital acquisitions for all three branches of the Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
- The council is headed by the Defense Minister, and recently, it approved the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for the purchase of 26 Rafale-M naval fighter aircraft from France, including relevant support equipment, weapons, simulators, spares, documentation, pilot training, and logistical support for the Indian Navy.
- Out of these 26 jets, 22 will be single-seat fighters meant for carrier-based operations, while the remaining four will serve as twin-seat trainers.
- The DAC also prioritized the establishment of the Air Maintenance, Overhaul, and Repair (AMOR) hub for indigenous equipment and various systems.
- Additionally, AON was given for the purchase of three more Scorpene-class submarines, to be manufactured by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in India. This acquisition will enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Navy and generate employment opportunities domestically.
- The DAC has also approved guidelines to procure desired indigenous content in all capital acquisition cases, with a focus on achieving 'self-reliance' in vital manufacturing technologies and defense platforms/equipment through indigenous production.
- As part of naval aviation development, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on the Twin-Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) under the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to operate on aircraft carriers.
- Presently, the Indian Navy operates two aircraft carriers - INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. The domestically built INS Vikrant was commissioned in September in last year.
- Under a signed deal worth $3.75 billion in October 2005, MDL is constructing six Scorpene-class submarines under Project-75, with five already inducted into service and the sixth, INS Vagsheer, launched in April 2022, expected to be handed over to the Navy by 2024.
- The Indian Navy plans to install Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) modules on all Scorpene submarines, beginning with the retrofit of INS Kalvari, to increase their endurance. Domestic AIP modules have already undergone shore-based trials.