France President Emmanuel Macron confirms first Rafale aircraft will reach India by September

  • Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa will go to the plant in Bordeaux (France) to receive the first Rafale aircraft
  • Deal for 36 Rafale aircraft took place between India and France in 2016

Paris: France President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that the first Rafale aircraft will reach India by next month.

The remarks by the French President came after his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chantilly, a historical town located about 50 kilometres north of Paris.

In September 2016, India had signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over Euro 7.8 billion to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts. The aircraft will start arriving in India from May next year.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the Indian Air Force Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa will receive the first aircraft from the French authorities near the plane manufacturing plant in Bordeaux.

Indian Rafale is far more advanced: The officials said the Indian Rafale is far more advanced than the ones operating with the French Air Force and that is why the plane would continue to be used for training Indian pilots till May next year.

The Indian planes have been equipped with a lot of India specific enhancements, which have been fitted at a cost of around one billion euros.

Indian pilots to be trained: During a joint interaction with the French President, Modi said, “We are happy that the first of the 36 Rafale fighter aircraft will be handed over to India next month.”

Though small batches of Indian pilots have already trained on the French Air Force planes, the Indian Air Force would train 24 pilots in three different batches till next year May for flying the Indian Rafales.

The Indian Air Force will deploy one each squadron of the Rafale combat aircraft at its airbases in Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in Bengal.