Sunday, July 26, 2020

Rafale fighters to take off from France tomorrow, can be operational within a week

New Delhi: At least five Rafale fighter aircraft will take off from Merignac in France Monday to arrive in India Wednesday and, if required, these aircraft can also be operationally deployed within a week amid the India-China standoff in Ladakh, ThePrint has learnt.

According to sources in the defence and security establishment, a total of 12 Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots have been fully trained on the fighter aircraft, which is considered a game-changer in the region with its unmatched fire power.
Several other pilots are completing their training in France — the contract stipulates that a total of 36 pilots will be trained by French authorities, including those who will undergo training in India.

While, in an official statement, the IAF had said that five aircraft will land Wednesday, as reported by ThePrint on 29 June, the figure could be six.

“The exact number of aircraft that will take off will be known only on Monday. The IAF has said that five would land on July 29 in India but this number could even be six,” a source said.

According to the contract signed in September 2016, 12 aircraft are supposed to be delivered every year.

French defence major Dassault Aviation, which is manufacturing the Rafale jets, had since October last year handed over a total of nine aircraft to the IAF. The 10th is undergoing acceptance trials by IAF pilots in France.
The source also added that the aircraft can be operationally deployed, if needed, “within a week”.
26/07/20 Snehesh Alex Philip/Print
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