The Indian Air Force received its first ‘acceptance’ Rafale fighter jet from the Dassault Aviations in France yesterday. The tail number of India’s first Rafale jet is RB-01, that stands for the name of Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who played a pivotal role in sealing the combat aircraft deal between India and France.
Indian Air Force (IAF) Sources: IAF received its first ‘acceptance’ Rafale combat aircraft from Dassault Aviation in France, yesterday. Deputy Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary also flew in the aircraft for around one hour. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/bzm0gwuVWd
— ANI (@ANI) September 20, 2019
The aircraft was flown by Deputy Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary for around one hour. The formal handing over ceremony is scheduled to happen on October 8.
The multi-role combat aircraft aims to add teeth to the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. It is hailed as 4+ generation aircraft and its capabilities comprise air-defence or air-superiority, can be sent on reconnaissance missions and provide close air support. It can also handle air-to-ground precision strikes, hold nuclear and conventional warheads, carry out anti-ship attacks and allows re-fuelling between two Rafale aircraft without having to wait for mid-air refuelling tankers.
The Dassault Aviation is expected to hand over 4-5 Rafale jets by March-April 2020 following which they will be flown to India and officially inducted in the Indian Air Force.
India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.