Out of the 36 Rafale fighter planes that India is buying from France through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, around eight will reach India early next year. Sources have confirmed that the first fighter aircraft which is expected to be handed over to the defence minister Rajnath Singh at a ceremony on Sept 19, in Paris, will be used for advanced training of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots.
“So far the ground crew and the pilots have been undergoing training on the fighter planes which are in the French Air Force. Once the first aircraft is handed over later this month, the training will start on the aircraft made as per India Specific Enhancements (ISE).”As per the terms of the contract between the two countries, three IAF pilots and two technical officers are getting trained on the Rafale which is being flown by the French Air Force. By 2020 three batches of around eight pilots and technicians will be trained on the aircraft.
To ensure that the deliveries are on time, the contract has specified that all aircraft arrive in India by 2022.
India specific Rafale
The first India specific aircraft made its maiden flight in October 2018.
It has been designated RB008.
According to IAF, the RB stands for Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, was as the deputy chief was leading negotiation team.
This will be the last aircraft to be handed over to the IAF in April 2022.
The Rafale is state-of-the-art fighter planes.
Have twin-engine and are not only multi-role fighter aircraft, but are also nuclear-capable.
They can engage in both air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks.
They will come with Meteor missile.
Also, SCALP ground attack missiles which has a range of up to 300 Kms.
Prior to formal induction in 2020, these machines will undergo extensive trials.
Onboard these aircraft there is AESA radar, SPECTRA Electronic Warfare System and IRST System.
One squadron is going to be based in Ambala and the other is expected to be based out of Hashimara, West Bengal.
Both India and France had inked a contract in 2016 for 36 fighter machines (two Squadrons) in 2016 for around Euro 7.8 billion.