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On its way to India! First 5 Rafale fighter aircraft

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2020 Published on July 27, 2020

The first batch of Rafale aircraft preparing to take off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, France on July 27, 2020

Delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by 2021-end, says MEA

The first five Rafale fighter aircraft, built by Dassault, France’s top defence aircraft manufacturer, flew out from Merignac airbase in Bordeaux, France to India on Monday, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Rafale aircraft are scheduled to reach India on July 29, 2020, covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop en route in UAE.

“This also marks a new milestone in the strong and growing India-France defence cooperation,” the release said.

Adding to defence strength

The long-awaited and much-needed two squadrons of Rafale would add to IAF’s strength and the country’s defence capabilities, said India’s Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf who was in Bordeaux to see off the Rafale aircraft.

The Rafale deal, concluded by the Modi-government after scrapping older negotiations, created a lot of political controversy in the country with the Congress accusing the ruling party of buying the aircraft at a much higher price.

The first Rafale fighter was handed over to the IAF in October 2019, and the delivery of ten has been completed on schedule. Five will be retained in France for the training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021, the release said.

The Indian Ambassador appreciated the French Air Force and Dassault for delivering the aircraft on schedule despite the ongoing pandemic crisis. Éric Trappier, Chairman Dassault Aviation and Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, the Air Attaché to France, were also present on the occasion.

India’s cooperation with France in fighter aircraft dates back to 1953 when the country acquired French Toofanis. Subsequently, India also bought other aircraft, including Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirages.

 

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Published on July 27, 2020
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