First Rafale fighters to join Golden Arrows Squadron of IAF; Four fighters to be ferried by July end

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Published: June 2, 2020 6:06 PM

The deal for 36 French fighters was inked at 7.8 billion euros with the French government in September 2016. These aircraft are expected to boost the IAF’s power in the Eastern and western borders.

These aircraft can easily integrate with the existing fleets in the IAF and will enhance the overall combat potential and deterrence value. (Photo: Dassault Aviation/V Almansa)These aircraft can easily integrate with the existing fleets in the IAF and will enhance the overall combat potential and deterrence value.
(Photo: Dassault Aviation/V Almansa)

Despite the global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the French Dassault Aviation’s `Rafale’ is expected to arrive by July end. These aircraft as per the original schedule were expected to arrive May end equipped with India specific systems on board. However, due to the shutting down of the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, the manufacturing of these aircraft had to be put on hold. Post lockdown, with stringent COVID-19 protocols in place, the work has restarted and also the training of the pilots and men. On Tuesday Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a telephonic conversation with his French counterpart Florence Parly during which she conveyed that the Rafale jets will be delivered to India as scheduled.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Defence, it states “The two ministers also discussed further strengthening of defence cooperation between India and France. Both also agreed to work together to fulfil the India-France joint strategic vision on the Indian Ocean Region.”

More about Rafale

The IAF IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria in an interaction with Financial Express Online had said that though the deliveries are on track in France, however, the ferrying of the Rafale, fighters will be delayed towards the end of July.

These aircraft can easily integrate with the existing fleets in the IAF and will enhance the overall combat potential and deterrence value.

As has been reported by the Financial Express Online earlier, the first four out of the 36 fighters that India had ordered will fly to the Ambala Airbase by July end and these will include three twin-seat and one single-seater. And the first Rafale is expected to be commanded by the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 17 Golden Arrows’ squadron who will be accompanied by a French pilot while ferrying the aircraft to India. On the way, the aircraft is likely to be fuelled by a French Air Force Tanker and the Russian IL-78.

The Indo-Pak border is almost 220 km from the Ambala base. The second squadron of the Rafale will be in Hashimara Airbase in west Bengal.

The deal for 36 French fighters was inked at 7.8 billion euros with the French government in September 2016. These aircraft are expected to boost the IAF’s power in the Eastern and western borders.

What is coming with the aircraft in July?

These aircraft are known for its speed, weapon holding capacity and attack capability.

It is powered by two SNECMA M88 engines. These engines will help it to attain a high speed of 1,912 km per hour and has a range of more than 3,700 km.

These fighters are equipped with the AESA radar, SPECTRA Electronic Warfare System and IRST system. And has been categorized as 4.5 generation fighter.

It also has the capability to deliver nuclear weapons.

For India, the aircraft will also have Meteor, which can shoot down an enemy aircraft over 100 km away without crossing the airspace.

Also, there is a 1,300 kg, Scalp long-range air-to-ground stand-off cruise missile. It has the capability to strike almost 600 km into enemy territory.

Other India specific enhancements include radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems.

The defence minister had received the first Rafale when he had visited the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac.

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