New Delhi: Ending a long wait of almost two decades since the Indian Air Force sought the Rafale jets that had also been at the centre of political dogfight in last few years, India finally received the first of this omni-role fighter plane on October 9. Capable of outperforming any existing rival from China or Pakistan, the Rafale is also capable of
delivering nuclear weapons if required.
The fighter jet was formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Marignac in the fort city of Bordeaux in France, after he performed ‘Shastra Puja’ in the presence of his French counterpart Florence Parly. Later he also undertook a so sortie in the jet.
With a combat range of 780-km to 1,650-km depending on mission, the Rafales come armed with a deadly weapons package, advanced avionics, radars and electronic warfare systems to prevent jamming by adversaries and ensure superior survivability in hostile contested airspace.
The handing over ceremony of aircraft followed by the annual Indo-French Defence Dialogue between Rajnath Singh and French Armed forces minister Florence Parly in Paris.
Rafale is a fully versatile twin-jet aircraft that is able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. It can carry out all combat operations to achieve air defence, air superiority, in-depth strikes, anti-ship strikes and nuclear defence.
All of the 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022, while the first batch of four Rafale jets will arrive by May 2020.