Source : DNA India
|A Dassault Rafale jet fighter on display at the Aero India 2021 international aerospace and defence exhibition. (MARINA LYSTSEVA / TASS / GETTY IMAGES)|
As the race for the Indian Navy’s fighter jets begins, France has announced the completion of an order for 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Despite the global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, Dassault Aviation of France delivered all combat planes on time. On the occasion of the French Day celebrations in New Delhi, French Envoy Emmanuel Lenain announced that 36 fighter jets had been handed to New Delhi.
Though officially all have been sent to India, only 35 of the 36 have arrived, with the remaining one waiting in France while all 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) are evaluated.
According to the Financial Express Online, this instrumented aircraft was the first manufactured for India and was called RB008. The initials RB refer to the then-IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. He was the Deputy Chief of the IAF at the time, and he had played a significant part in the contract discussions while leading the team.
The IAF does not have any fighters from the United States; it does, however, have French jets, such the Mirage 2000 and, more recently, the Dassault Aviation Rafale.
The €7.87 billion inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for 36 multi-role fighter planes in fly-away condition was signed in 2016, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in April 2015.
In addition to the 35 combat aircraft that have arrived in India as of February this year, the Indian Air Force is also upgrading its current fleet of aircraft. The 13 ISE configurations that have passed tests, qualified, and been certified to be installed on board the aircraft are being added to these to enhance them.
Earlier this year, the French Rafale-M had come to India and demonstrated its compatibility and the F/A-18 Block III carried out a demonstration in May.
So far, the Indian Navy has received P-8I Patrol aircraft from Boeing Company, while the MH-60 ‘Romeo’ anti-submarine helicopters from US-based Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin is awaited.
The IAF also inducted AH-64E Apache Longbow attack Helicopters and heavyweight CH-47F (I) Chinooks, both from the Boeing Company.