India has received 26 Rafale aircraft till date, report

Indian Air Force welcomes Rafale fighter jets.

India has so far received 26 Rafale aircraft out of the 36 it has ordered from Dassault Aviation, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said Wednesday.

“The delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft is proceeding as per schedule. As of date, a total of 26 aircraft have been accepted and ferried to India,” Mr. Bhatt said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

India has so far received 26 Rafale aircraft out of the 36 it has ordered from Dassault Aviation, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said Wednesday. The deal was worth €7.8 billion ($9.4 billion) with support and weapons packages.

In late July, India’s Defense Minister Ajay Bhatt told media that deliveries of the aircraft were on schedule, with 26 having arrived in India so far. The remaining jets are expected by the end of 2021.

“The delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft is proceeding as per schedule. As of date, a total of 26 aircraft have been accepted and ferried to India,” Mr. Bhatt said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

The multi-role Rafale jets, built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air superiority and precision strikes.

Then Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh examined the jets in France.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of ₹ 59,000 crores.

The new squadron of Rafale jets will be based in Hasimara airbase in West Bengal. The first Rafale squadron is based in the Ambala air force station. A squadron comprises around 18 aircraft.

The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The Rafale jet 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.

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France has also offered to share and jointly develop technology for a longer range and heavier Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range (Hammer) missile which is currently part of the weapons package on the Indian Rafale. The latest version of this weapon has a 1,000-kilogram bomb and laser guidance technology.

What is the Rafale deal?

Modi’s 2015 deal came years after India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the opposition Congress party, led negotiations with Dassault after the French company was chosen as the winner in 2012 of India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition, which was intended to supply 126 aircraft to the Indian military.

However, negotiations between the UPA and Dassault stalled over disagreements that 108 of the planes would be produced in India by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Dassault had concerns over technology transfer to the Indian aerospace company, along with doubts over HAL’s capacity to produce the complex aircraft.

Indian Air Force officials posed in front of a Rafale fighter jet at India’s Ambala Air Force Station in 2020

Modi’s new deal, worth €7.8 billion, came as somewhat of a surprise amid reports that the original deal was close to being finalized.

However, after a meeting in April 2015 between Modi and then French President Francois Hollande, it was announced that 36 Rafale jets would be delivered from France to India in flying conditions. The MMRCA tender for the 126 jets was scrapped in July 2015.

After it was finalized in 2016, Modi’s new fighter jet deal was touted as a major victory in cutting through red tape by his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which used the occasion to showcase the prime minister as a skilled negotiator.

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