India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
“There will be no delay in delivery of 36 Rafale jets to India as the timeline finalized for the supply of the fighter jets will be strictly respected”.
“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,” French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received the first Rafale jet at an airbase in France on October 8. “We are helping the Indian Air Force in arranging for the ferry flight of their first four Rafales from France to India as soon as possible. So there’s no reason today to speculate that the schedule will not be maintained,” the envoy said.
France is reeling under swelling cases of coronavirus and has emerged as one of the worst-hit in Europe. Over 1,45,000 people were infected by the virus while the death toll stood at 28,330. There were apprehensions that the delivery of Rafale jets could be delayed due to the pandemic.
However, Lenain asserted that the original timeline for delivery of the jets will be adhered to. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionize air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Sweden.
Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come 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. — PTI
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