Delivery of the first Rafale jet to India

Indian Air Force gets the game changer firepower capability against Pakistan

We will get 18 Rafale jets by February 2021 and rest 18 will get all 36 jets by April-May 2022. "I look forward to taking a sortie in the Rafale aircraft", Singh said at Mérignac.

"Our airforce is the fourth largest in the world and I believe that the Rafale medium multi-roll Combat aircraft will make us even stronger and give a boost to India's air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region", Singh said. "I had never thought that one day I will fly at supersonic speed in an aircraft", he said.

In fact, the first Rafale built was RB-008 and it is on this aircraft that the 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) will be incorporated, tested and certified before they are incorporated on the remaining jets which will be done after all jets arrive in India.

During the handover ceremony, French defence minister Florence Parley said, "Rafale is the best technology France has to offer, adding,"sixty-six Rafale jets will be delivered between 2019-2023".

Before proceeding to Dassault's Bordeaux facility, Rajnath Singh called on French President Emmanuel Macron at his official residence Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday. Singh's sortie was flown by a French pilot.

The IAF recently resurrected the 17 Squadron "Golden arrows" at Air Force station Ambala which will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter jets once they arrive in India.

"Rafale will add to the strength of IAF".

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday that he had "fruitful deliberations" with his French counterpart during which they reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral defence engagement and reaffirmed their strong commitment to further deepen cooperation to combat terrorism. So, the Rafale we are getting from France will obviously not be the real Rafale. India and France had inked a deal in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore. Admiral Bernard Rogel, the defence advisor to the French president, was also present at the meeting.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs "shashtra puja" on a Rafale jet fighter during an handover ceremony at the Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac, near Bordeaux, southwestern France on October 8, 2019.

The Indian Air Force is meant to have 42 squadrons but struggles to put together 33, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Though Singh will receive the first of the 36 Rafale jets today, the first batch of four aircraft will come to India only by May next year. "Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly today", Singh said, in reference to the annual Indo-French Defence Dialgoue scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The RB001 Rafale, denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief, was unveiled with the Indian tricolour as its backdrop.

However, he said that India will have to retaliate if someone tries to "destabilise" the country.

Rajnath Singh invited the defence industry leaders to participate in the "Make In India" initiative. In a statement, Singh noted that India's "special relationship" with France goes far beyond the realm of formal ties.

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