IAF receives first 'acceptance' Rafale in France
20 September 2019
The Indian Air Force on Friday received its first ‘acceptance’ Rafale combat aircraft from French firm Dassault Aviation on Thursday. Deputy Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary also flew in the aircraft for around one hour, according to news agency ANI.
India had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2016 during PM Narendra Modi's visit to that country. The contract for 36 ready-to-fly aircraft was signed at about Rs58,000 crore.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will be receiving the first of the fighter jets in Paris on 8 October, the Air Force Day.
Indian Air Force has resurrected its Ambala-based No 17 `Golden Arrows’ squadron, to be armed with Rafale fighters.
‘Golden Arrows’ will now be the first squadron to be equipped with the state-of-the-art Rafale aircraft - an extremely capable, fourth generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapon system.
“When Rafale comes in, it will ensure that the deterrence of our air defence will increase manifold and they (Pakistan) will not come anywhere near our Line of Control or border. That kind of capability we will possess, for which, presently they (Pakistan) don’t have an answer,” Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had said earlier.
It may be noted that the Indian variants have been fitted with IAF-specific requirements at an additional cost of about Euro 1 billion. The newly inducted aircraft will be boosting the IAF's depleting squadron strength. Earlier, Dhanoa had said that the adversaries along the western borders won't dare to carry out any misadventure after the Rafale jets are inducted into the IAF.