Indian Air Force To Receive Four Rafale Jets From France By May 2020: Air Chief Marshal RKS BhadauriaIAF’s Rafale Fighter Jet (Pic Via Cedric Guerre)

The chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Friday (4 October) said the first Rafale fighter jets will be seen in Indian skies only by the end of May 2020.

Bhaduaria was addressing a press conference here ahead of the IAF Day that will be observed on 8 October.

Responding to a query by IANS, Bhadauria said that India will receive the first four of the 36 Rafale fighter jets by May 2020.

"By May 2020, we will be receiving four Rafale fighter jets. It will be only then that we will see the aircraft in the Indian skies. The advantage of getting the Rafale in May next year will be that our pilots will be substantially trained by then," said Bhadauria.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be receiving the first Rafale fighter aircraft in France on 8 October when he is also scheduled to fly a sortie on a two-seater trainer version.

"A pre-delivery inspection team was in France last month to complete the handover formalities. That was when the documentation took place and the aircraft was 'technically accepted' by the IAF. It will be formally handed over to the defence minister next week," added Bhadauria.

He also said that there are no separate plans to acquire another 36 Rafale jets in a separate bid. India is planning to acquire 114 fighter jets to make up for its depleting strength of fighter aircraft.

"There are no plans to acquire 36 more Rafale jets separately. The RFI for 114 aircraft has already been received. We have started the process for AON," he said.

The initials of the air chief RB-01 have been imprinted on the tail fin of the first Rafale jet that India is set to receive in honour of the key role that he played in the negotiations on behalf of India.

The IAF will be phasing out its ageing fleet of MiG 21s later this year.

"The non-Bison versions of the MiG 21 aircraft will be phased out between December and March. The Bison fleet will be phased out as per their technical life," he said.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber