According to top government officials, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked Dassault Aviation to integrate indigenous weapons such as Astra, a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, and Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) with Rafale fighter jets in accordance with the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ programme.

The Rafale, a 4.5-generation fighter plane, now carries a wide range of European weaponry, including Meteor air-to-air missiles and various air-to-ground weapons.

After successfully integrating indigenous armaments with the Rafale, India can consider exporting these sophisticated weapons to countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Greece, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Currently, the IAF has 36 Rafale jets stationed in the air stations of Ambala and Hasimara in Haryana and West Bengal, respectively. Furthermore, the Indian Navy will purchase 26 Rafale-M fighter jets to be operated from the Indian Navy’s two aircraft carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya, which currently carry Mig 29K.

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