New Delhi (GDC) — There will be no delay in delivery of 36 Rafale jets to India as the timeline finalised for the supply of the fighter jets will be strictly respected, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain has said.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
“The contractual delivery schedule of the Rafale jets has been perfectly respected till now, and, in fact, a new aircraft was handed over to the Indian Air Force in end-April in France, in keeping with the contract,” Lenain told news agency PTI.
“We are helping the Indian Air Force in arranging for the ferry flight of their first four Rafales from France to India as soon as possible. So there’s no reason today to speculate that the schedule will not be maintained,” the envoy said.
France is reeling under swelling cases of coronavirus and has emerged as one of the worst-hit in Europe. Over 1,45,000 people were infected by the virus while the death toll stood at 28,330.
However, Lenain asserted that the original timeline for delivery of the jets will be adhered to.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems.
The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
The first squadron of the aircraft will be stationed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from there.
The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater with almost all the features of the fighter jets.
Eight Rafale In India
The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to develop required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received the first Rafale jet at an airbase in France on October 8.
The first four Rafales had been formally handed over to India in October 2019, and were set to arrive in May. But now the entire schedule has been sent for a toss.
Four Rafale jets are currently under production at Dassault’s facility, while four others are undergoing trials.
Rafale In India
According to the contract, of the 36 Rafales India has ordered, 11 are to be delivered every year.
The first set of the Rafale aircraft will be commissioned into the 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ in Ambala, while a second squadron is set to come up in Hasimara, West Bengal, to secure India’s eastern borders.
By integrating the Rafale, the Indian Air Force will have the most potent 4.5-generation fighter aircraft.
Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is designed to carry out air dominance, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, deep strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The jet is referred to as an “omnirole” combat aircraft.
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