Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that all sanctioned Rafale fighter jets will be inducted into the Indian Air Force by April 2022. By March this year, 7 Rafales will be inducted. The IAF till date has 11 of the ace fighter planes.
Three Rafale combat aircrafts landed in India on January 27 night after flying non-stop from France, an Indian Air Force official said. The three jets added to the then fleet of eight Rafale aircrafts. It was the third batch of Rafale aircraft that landed after flying over 7,000 km from the Istres air base in France and used in-flight refuelling. The Rafale combat aircraft is manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation. India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on July 29, 2020 which were inducted into the 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron on September 10 at the Ambala Air Base last year. The second batch of three Rafale combat aircraft arrived in India on November 4, 2020. India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie. The fighter jet has HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing its ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.