The five Rafale fighter jets are scheduled to be officially inducted into the Indian Air Force on Thursday. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly, along with India's top military officials, will attend a ceremony at the Ambala airbase tomorrow. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, four years after signing a contract with the French government to procure 36 aircraft for Rs 59,000 crore.
Here are key things to know about Rafale jets:
So far, 10 aircraft have been delivered to India. Five of these stayed back in France for imparting training to the IAF pilots. The second batch of 4-5 aircraft is expected to arrive by November. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Of the 36 Rafale jets, 30 are fighter jets and six will be twin-seater trainers. They are expected to have nearly all the features of the fighter jets.
India has made such a high profile acquisition 23 years after the Sukhoi jets deal with Russia. Rafale jets are globally known for their air-superiority and precision strikes.
European missile maker MBDA's Meteor, a 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 a next-generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). It is designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat.
The Rafale will also have 13 Indian specific enhancements. These will be integrated once the full delivery is completed.
The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala air base, while the second will be based at Hasimara base in West Bengal.Also read: Rajnath Singh to induct five Rafale jets into Indian Air Force on Sept 10