Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa will travel to France to receive the first Rafale jet on September 20. Rafael is manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA, French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional, and business jets, and is a subsidiary of Dassault Group.
As per a report published, Singh will lead a large contingent sent by the Indian government to receive the Rafale planes in the third week of September. In September 2016 India inked a 36-fighter jet deal with the French manufacturer for over Euro 7.8 billion to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on eastern and western fronts. These jets will start arriving in India from May 2020.
Singh and IAF chief will welcome the first jet from the French authorities in Bordeaux.
According to officials, Indian Rafale is an advanced version of the in-operational French Air Force, and the plane would be used to train Indian pilots till May next year. The Indian jets have been equipped with India specific enhancements at the cost of around one billion euros.
Although small batches of Indian pilots have been trained on French Air Force planes already, IAF would train 24 more pilots in various batches to be able to fly the much-awaited Rafales from May next year.