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SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

In less than six months, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have in its possession all 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets that it had placed an order in 2016, has of now, IAF already has inducted 24 jets and 11 more will come by end of this year and lone Twin-seater trainer aircraft that was used to train Indian pilots in France will be the last one to depart to India in January 2022.

Countries like Egypt and Qatar who had placed orders for Rafale a few months before India had done have already placed additional orders with Dassault and it is still not clear when India will be concluding a fresh contract for acquiring additional jets that were presumably procured under off-the-shelf emergency requirement due to steady declining of the fighter squadron fleet of the IAF.

€7.8 billion contracts for 36 Rafale already has an option for 18 more jets that can be concluded as a follow-up order thus saving a lot of time for the airforce. Dassault already has offered India, its upcoming F4 standard that will start coming from 2024 onwards if the contract for additional jets is concluded by end of 2021. India already has canceled a deal for 126 jets under MMRCA tender and has done on procurement of 114 jets under new tender that was floated soon after even when air force is seeing a steady decline in its fighter squadron fleet.

It’s high time that India places additional orders for 18 follow-up jets in an off-the-shelf contract since making these jets in India can not become a reality at least till 2030.

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