France has asserted that there will be no delay in supply of 36 Rafale jets to India. Talking to news agency PTI, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said that France will stick to the timeline finalised for the supply of the fighter jets.
India had signed a deal with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in September 2016 at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. Since France has emerged as one of the worst victims of COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, there were apprehensions that the supply of Rafale to India will get delayed. However, the French Ambassador has assured that the original timeline for delivery of the jets will be adhered to.
France assures timely delivery of Rafale jets: Key points
1. The French Ambassador said that the contractual delivery schedule of the Rafale jets has been perfectly respected till now, and, in fact, a new aircraft was handed over to the Indian Air Force in end-April in France, in keeping with the contract.
2. He further said that France is helping the Indian Air Force in arranging for the ferry flight of their first four Rafales from France to India as soon as possible.
3. Emmanuel Lenain pointed out that a new aircraft was handed over to the Indian Air Force in end-April in France, in keeping with the contract.
4. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had received the first Rafale jet at an airbase in France on October 8.
5. Rafale jets will be equipped with European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile. These two missiles will be the mainstay of the aircraft’s weapons package.
6. In February last year, F-16 jets of Pakistan Airforce had outgunned Indian fighter jets including Su-30MKI while retaliating to Balakote airstrikes by IAF as they were equipped with American AMRAAM 120-C5 BVR missiles which a range of approx 100 km. With the acquisition of Meteor BVR missiles, IAF will bridge that chink in its armour.
7. In addition to Meteor and Scalp missiles, the Rafale jets meant for India will be equipped with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems.
8. The first squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be stationed at Ambala air force station considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF, which is 220 km from Indo-Pak border. The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
9. The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to develop required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases.
10. Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater with almost all the features of the fighter jets.