November 10, 2022
NEW DELHI – India will receive its 36th and final Rafale fighter jet from France by December 15 completing the delivery of all the aircraft it had signed for in an over Rs 60,000 crore deal inked in 2016.
“The last aircraft will arrive in India around December 15. The aircraft was used for developing the India-specific enhancements in the Rafale fleet of the Indian Air Force,” senior defence officials told ANI.
India had signed a deal for 36 of these planes and 35 of them have already arrived and are stationed at Ambala, Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal.
The officials said the 36th aircraft with RB tail number has been provided to the Indian side by France with all its spares and other parts replaced as it was being used for developmental activities.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has also started upgrading the planes to the highest standards and has been equipped with all India-specific enhancements.
The Rafale is a 4.5-generation aircraft and has helped India regain its supremacy over Indian sub-constituent skies with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles along with advanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities.
The French firm Dassault Aviation is also involved in the maintenance of the aircraft whose serviceability is over 75 per cent.
The Rafale was inducted swiftly into the Indian Air Force at the peak of the conflict with China and had started operating over Ladakh within a week of its arrival in the country.
The IAF also quickly fired and operationalized the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles as well as the Scalp air-to-ground missiles.
The IAF has also added the HAMMER missile to the Rafale’s arsenal as it was required for carrying out precision attacks at shorter distances.