When will India get remaining Rafale jets? IAF chief provides a timeline

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Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari on Saturday thanked France for timely deliveries of the Dassault Rafale fighter jets to India and provided a timeline for dispatch of the rest of the twin-engine multirole fighter aircrafts. Noting that 32 of the 36 promised Rafales have already been delivered, the Air Force Chief said that three of the pending four will be delivered by February next year while the delivery of the remaining one will be done only after all its trials conclude.

“As far as discussions on Rafale is concerned, we are thankful to them [France] for the timely deliveries,” said the Chief of the Air Staff (COAS), while addressing reporters. “You know that the contract was for 36 aircrafts, 32 of which have already been delivered. Out of the remaining four, three will arrive on time in February.”

Providing a timeline for the delivery of the final Rafale aircraft, the IAF chief said, “The last aircraft, which will have India-specific enhancements, will be delivered after all its trials conclude. We discussed with the defence minister future maintenance issues of Rafale and the setting up of a D-level maintenance facility in India.”

Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari also commented on the ongoing India-China border stand-off, noting that although troops have backed off from certain areas in Ladakh, “complete disengagement has not taken place” yet.

“The Air Force will continue to maintain deployment,” he said. “We are prepared to take on any challenge that we may face in the area.”

Notably, French defence minister Florence Parly had said a day ago that France is ready to provide additional Rafale fighter jets to India if and when a request is put forward for the same. “We are ready to answer any additional needs or requests that could be made by India,” she said ahead of the all-important 3rd Annual Defence Dialogue with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh. “We know that an aircraft carrier will soon be delivered. Aircraft are needed.”

Parly also discussed regional security and co-operation in Indo-Pacific with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Rajnath Singh.

The ministers reviewed the existing military-to-military cooperation, which has increased in spite of pandemic challenges. The ways to increase defence cooperation in all domains were also discussed. They also acknowledged their convergences on a number of strategic and defence issues and expressed commitment to work together to enhance cooperation in bilateral, regional, and multilateral forums.

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