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16 more Rafale fighter jets to join Indian Air Force by April 2021

Dassault Rafale fighter jet - Indian Air Force (Dylan Agbagni/Flickr)
November 01, 2020

The Indian Air Force’s strike capability will get a big boost when 16 more Dassault Rafale Fighter aircraft join the fleet by April next year, Hindustan Times reported.  Three more fighter jets are scheduled for delivery on November 5.

French Dassault Aviation has announced that delivery of three more Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force will take place in January, bringing the force’s fleet from three to six. Three more aircraft will be delivered in March, and seven in April, raising the projected total of single-seat fighter aircraft to 16 in April 2021. The IAF already has seven twin-seat training fighter jets which are already being used for IAF fighter pilot training in France.

By April, Ambala Air Base will have the complete Golden Arrow squadron of 18 Rafale jets. The remaining single-seat aircraft will be sent to the Hashimara Air Base in West Bengal’s Alipurduar situated in the northeastern region of India.  The base will be home to the second Rafale squadron.

The deal for 36 Rafale jets was signed between the nations of India and France for the purchase of 36 F3R(I) variants in a deal worth almost 60,000 crores (7.8 Billion Euros) in 2016.

Dassault Rafale is the advanced omni-role fighter jet designed by French Dassault Aviation. A 4.5 generation aircraft, the jet has the capability to carry out a wide range of operations in a single sortie. It offers ease of operability with sensor fusion ability, and the capability to carry lethal weapons like Meteor BVRAAM, MICA AAM, Hammer AG Guided Munitions and SCALP-EG Stealth cruise missile, for precision strikes.

Indian Air Force is currently in a phase of phasing out old generation fighter jets. Besides Rafale, the IAF have also ordered Tejas light combat aircraft which will be replacing the old Mig-21s. The Air Force operates a wide range of combat aircraft like SU30mki, Mirage-2000, Mig29, Jaguar, Tejas, and the recently inducted Rafale. The Sukhoi aircraft forms the backbone of the Indian Air Force.