India to Receive Entire Fleet of Rafale Fighter Jets From France by April 2022
Rishikesh Kumar. Sputnik International
12:07 GMT 08.02.2021
Back in 2016, the Indian government placed an order with the Dassault Aviation aircraft manufacturer for the purchase of 36 new Rafale fighter jets to enhance the capability of the Indian Air Force, which is facing a severe shortage of aircraft.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has informed the parliament that the delivery of the ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation will be completed by April 2022 â€” almost six years after the $8.85 billion contract was signed under a government-to-government deal.
"As of now, 11 Rafale have arrived in India and by the end March 2021, 17 Rafale will be in the country. By April 2022, all the remaining Rafale would arrive in India", Rajnath Singh said in the upper house of parliament on Monday.
The first five Rafale aircraft were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 10 September 2020. As per the plan, 18 Rafale fighters will form the IAF's 17 Squadron at Ambala Air Force Station to look after the western border, while the remaining 18 aircraft will serve in the IAF's 101 Squadron at Hasimara Air Force Station in north-eastern India to counter threats emanating from the border with China.
Dassault has been making India-specific changes to the aircraft and mounting new-generation missiles, like Meteor, Scalp, and Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (HAMMER) missiles, adding extra capability beyond India's immediate adversaries.
Currently, the IAF is facing a shortage of around 250 fighter jets, as recommended by a parliamentary committee, to counter threats emanating from China and Pakistan. Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter aircraft in 23 year since Su-30 jets were imported from Russia.
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