India Has Received All 36 Rafale Jets By France: French Envoy

The 36 Rafale fighter jets have all been delivered to India, according to Emmanuel Lenain, the French ambassador to India, who was speaking on Thursday outside of ceremonies for French National Day.

Although 35 jets have arrived in India, one jet is still in France, according to official sources.

An official source stated on Friday that one Rafale fighter, which is the instrumented aircraft on which the 13 India-specific upgrades (ISE) are being evaluated, is still in France.

The Rafale with the serial number RB008 was also made for India. RB stands for former Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, who oversaw the Indian negotiating team and played a significant role in the contract discussions while serving as the IAF’s deputy chief at the time.

With the arrival of the final three Rafale jets in February, the Indian Air Force now has 35 Rafales in its inventory. As The Hindu has reported, work is currently being done in India to convert all of the Rafale jets currently in service to the Indian standard configuration with the 13 ISE. Every ISE has already received training and certification.

Along with the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, the French jet’s naval derivative, Rafale-M, is competing for the Indian Navy’s tender for planes to operate from its aircraft carriers. While the F-18 conducted a demonstration in May, the Rafale-M had done so in January by flying from the Navy’s shore-based test facility in Goa.

The report on the operational demo is expected soon, after which the Navy would undertake a staff evaluation. Navy officials have said that they would recommend an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to conclude the deal.

India and France had signed a €7.87 billion inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in September 2016 for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition, following the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 citing “critical operational necessity” of the IAF.

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