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January 4, 2022

Indian Navy to conduct flight tests of Rafale-M fighter jet

The tests will assess the suitability of the jet for use on the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier.

The Indian Navy is reportedly set to conduct flight tests of the Rafale-Maritime (Rafale-M) fighter aircraft from this week.

The trials will be held at Naval Air Station INS Hansa, reported the Hindustan Times. They will evaluate if the jet is suitable for use on indigenous vessel INS Vikrant.

Codenamed as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC 1), INS Vikrant is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy.

It is currently taking part in sea trials near the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

Hindustan Times reported that the Rafale-M fighter will be put through rigorous trials for around 12 days at the 283m mock-up ski jump facility at INS Hansa.

According to the news agency, the flight trials of Rafale-M fighter will be conducted at the Shore Based Test Facility at INS Hansa in Goa from 6 January.

The Rafale-M launched from the French Navy’s Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier. It is also the only non-US fighter cleared to operate from US carriers.

The Indian Navy also intends to test F-18 Hornet fighter at the same facility in March this year.

IAC 1 is expected to be commissioned as ‘INS Vikrant’ on 15 August this year.

India already has a Rafale maintenance and flight training centre at Ambala air base.

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