India to receive next set of Rafale jets in this month
As it prepares to welcome a second batch of Rafale jets, a team of officials from the Indian Air Force (IAF) has visited France to oversee the logistical courses and review the training of a hand-picked group of pilots at the Saint-Dizier air base.
The second batch of four Rafale aircrafts is expected to arrive in India in the next four weeks (November).
The force has sent a team of experts led by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Projects) to coordinate the logistical issues. The air force pilots are being trained in batches at the Saint-Dizier air base in France. India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on July 29 which were inducted to the 17 Squadron at the Ambala Air Base on September 10.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of these aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
After the induction of the first batch of Rafale aircraft, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had termed the Rafale deal as a game-changer. "I am confident that our air force has acquired a technological edge with Rafale," Rajnath Singh had said.
Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has 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 aircraft have HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.
(With inputs from IANS)