Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Thursday took a sortie on Rafale aircraft at French Air Force’s Mont de Marsan air base. RKS Bhadauria said, “It was a very good experience, we will have many lessons to take home in terms of how to best utilize Rafale once it is inducted into our Air Force, and how the combination can be with Su-30, another potent and important fleet in our Air Force.”

“In terms of technology and weapons Rafale has brought in, it will again be a game changer for IAF from our planning perspective, point of view of offensive missions and planning the kind of war we want to conduct in the coming years,” he added. Earlier, French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on Friday said the first Rafale fighter aircraft will be delivered within two months and it will be “perfectly on time”.

The senior diplomat had told PTI on the sidelines of a function here that all 36 Rafale jets will be delivered to the Indian Air Force within the next two years.

Calling it an excellent aircraft, he said it would add a lot to the capacity of the Indian Air Force.”The first Rafale will be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in two months from now, I think in September, perfectly on time. Thirty-six will come within the next two years,” Ziegler said.

Hailing the partnership between the two nations, he said, “Look at the track record we have developed in cooperation with India in the past 50 years. The IAF has been flying with French technology, and Indo-French technology, because there is large amount of technology that we have co- developed.”

“I think this 50-year-old partnership (with India) will develop into a partnership of the next 50 years. I am confident about that,” he said. On the fighter jet, the French Ambassador said, “Rafale has been an excellent aircraft. It being chosen by India, we feel honoured, we feel privileged. I think it will add a lot to the capacity of the Indian Air Force.”