Negotiations Underway to Buy Long Range Cruise Missile- Scalp for Rafale-M Fighters

Defence Industry

New Delhi: After France offered local production of submarine-launched Naval Scalp missiles, for the three additional Scorpene submarines that the Indian Navy is buying from France, negotiations are underway between the Indian Navy and MBDA, Scalp missile manufacturer, for acquisition of these missiles as part of the weapons package for 26 Rafale-Ms, reported a media outlet.

Last month, India submitted a letter of request (LoR) to French government to buy 26 Rafale-M fighter for INS Vikrant.

According to the report, these missiles will give the navy a significant capability boost compared to the Mig-29K, KH-31 combination. Scalp missiles have a strike range of more than 300 kilometres. Scalp missiles are stealth long-range fire and forget missiles which carries a warhead of 450 kg, that can destroy heavily defended, high-value enemy targets like command and control centres, ammunition depots, petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) dumps and bunkers.

The submarine-launched variant has a strike range of close to 1,000 kilometres. Scalp missiles have also demonstrated their effectiveness in various wars, with the most recent being the Ukraine-Russia war, where the French supplied missiles were successfully able to destroy a ship and a submarine docked at a naval station and Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters.

Bought with the thirty-six Rafale fighters acquired in 2016, the Indian Air Force (IAF) already operates Scalp missiles. While the IAF Rafales can carry two Scalp missiles, its naval variant, the Rafale-M, can carry only one Scalp missile.