New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken a significant step towards bolstering its ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector and expanding the global market for indigenous weapons. It has formally approached French aerospace company Dassault Aviation to integrate Indian-made weaponry, such as the ‘Astra’ air-to-air missile, onto the Rafale combat aircraft.
The Rafale fighter jet, widely utilised by various nations including India, France, Egypt, Qatar, Greece, Croatia, the UAE, and Indonesia, has garnered international acclaim for its advanced capabilities. Now, the IAF aims to enhance the Rafale’s arsenal with indigenous weapons to further strengthen its operational effectiveness.
“The IAF has asked the original equipment manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, to integrate Indian-made weapons like the Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) and the Astra air-to-air missile with the Rafale, which has been in service with the IAF since 2020,” defence officials told the media.
Furthermore, the IAF is planning to integrate a variety of domestically designed weapons by private sector firms, including long-range glide bombs, into the Rafale in the near future. This move reflects the IAF’s commitment to tapping into India’s private defence industry’s potential and fostering indigenous technological advancements.
Industry sources anticipate a substantial market for these Indian weapons systems owing to their impressive capabilities and competitive pricing once they are successfully integrated into the Rafale. It is noteworthy that Indian weapon systems have already been successfully integrated into other aircraft, such as the Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and the indigenous LCA Tejas.