New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India is expected to receive all Rafale fighter jets from France by April next year. This was confirmed by French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain, saying Paris "despite all the hardship" in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be able to deliver all Rafales on time.
"In France, teams have been working extra shifts to be able to fulfil the commitment. As of today, 30 have been delivered to India. So, we are on time and we are going to reach the target of having all the 36 delivered by April of next year," he told Zee News in an interview.
The induction of the Rafales into the Indian Air Force (IAF) is a big boost for India. However, with an aim to further strengthen its abilities, the IAF has decided to upgrade its fleet of French-origin fighters with India-specific enhancements.
The said upgrading, as per a report by news agency ANI, will start from January next year. According to the report, the up-gradation would include "integration of highly capable missiles, low band jammers and satellite communication systems as per Indian requirements".
The ANI sources said that kits would be brought to India from France and every month to upgrade the Rafales as per the Indian standards. The sources also said that up-gradation would be done at the Ambala Air Force Station.
"A high-level team of Indian Air Force officers is in France to evaluate the performance of the testbed aircraft with tail number RB-008 at the Istres air base there. The aircraft has been equipped with all the India Specific Enhancements agreed upon between the two sides in the 2016 contract," ANI quoted government sources as saying.
So far, India has received 30 Rafale jets from France and has already started its pilots within the country after training its personnel in France. The country is now planning to go ahead with the case for acquiring 114 multirole fighter aircraft for which a case is to be moved to the defence ministry by the IAF in near future.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma