Guwahati: India is likely to receive the first batch of six Rafale fighter jets by July 27. It is expected to boost the combat capability of the country, sources familiar with the development told media.
This comes in the aftermath of the violent confrontation between India and China in the Galwan valley of eastern Ladakh two weeks back and amid mounting tensions on both sides. Though the IAF has been on high alert for the last two weeks, there has been no official comment by them regarding the arrival of the fighter jets.
On June 2, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh over a telephonic conversation was assured by his French counterpart Florence Parly, that the jets would arrive as scheduled, despite the pandemic situation.
The first squadron of fighter planes will be stationed at Ambala, a significant base of the IAF, and the second one at Hasimura, West Bengal. IAF has spent around 400 crores to develop the required infrastructure at both the stations.
The mainstays of the fighter jets are the Meteor BVM Air-to-Air Missile BVRAAM's and the Scalp Cruise missile developed by the European missile maker MBDA. The missile was initially developed for UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Sweden. The Meteor is the next generation of BVRAAM aimed at revolutionizing air-to-air combat. Besides, the fighter jets also include several other India-specific modifications like Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search, tracking systems, and many other facilities.
The Rafale deal is an intergovernmental agreement signed between the governments of India and France in 2016. As per the agreement, India purchased 36 Rafale jets-30 fighter and 6 twin-seater trainer jets for 58,000 crores. The trainers are also equipped with almost all the features of the fighter jets. Congress had alleged corruption which the government denied.