First of the 36 Dassault Rafales multirole fighter jet was handed over to India yesterday in France. 1st Rafale was received by Indian Air Force Deputy Chief Air Marshal Chaudhary during his ongoing visit to France. Deputy Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary also flew in the aircraft for around one hour. It will be formally received by Indian Defence Minister in Paris on October 8 – the foundation day of the Indian Air Force, according to government sources.
The delivery is part of the $8.7 bn deal signed in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft in “fly-away condition” following the cancellation of a deal for 126 fighter jets of the same type with 108 out of the 126 aircraft slated to be assembled locally in India.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles. The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
According to reports, the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala Air Force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF.