Rafale in India: Four Rafales will arrive in India at the end of July, India to gain advantage over Pakistan, China in the air | India News
The delivery of the plane was supposed to have taken place before the end of May, but this was postponed for two months in view of the situation of Covid-19 in both India and France.
“The first four aircraft, including three two-seater training planes and a single-seater fighter jet, would begin arriving in Ambala Air Base in late July. Trainers will have the RB series tail numbers in honor of the Chief of the Air Force RKS Bhadauria, who played a pivotal role in finalizing India’s largest defense agreement for 36 Rafale fighter jets, “defense sources told ANI here.
The first plane to be flown is planned to be piloted by the Commander of the 17 Golden Arrows squad along with a French pilot, they said.
The plane on its way from France to India would be resupplied by a French Air Force tanker in the air before stopping in the Middle East.
“From the Middle East to India, the Indian tanker IL-78 would refuel in the air before landing in India,” the sources said.
Sources said the Rafales could have come directly from France to India, but a 10-hour flight could have been stressful sitting inside a small cabin.
The first batch of seven Indian pilots also completed their training at a French air base, while the second group would go to France as soon as the blocking measures are relaxed in both countries.
After the closure, India received the first shipment of equipment from France when a cargo plane landed in Delhi last week and more equipment would arrive in the near future. India had signed an agreement worth more than Rs 60 billion with France in September 2016 for 36 Rafales to meet the emergency requirements of the Indian Air Force.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria was the Deputy Chief of Air Staff at the time and headed the Indian negotiating team for the deal, which is the largest in monetary terms in India. Armed with the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles and SCALP, the Rafales would give India an advantage over Pakistan and China in terms of air strike capability.
The sources said the Rafale’s air-to-air and air-to-ground attack capabilities cannot be matched by China and Pakistan and that the plane would give India an advantage over the two rivals.