India Receives First Delivery of Dassault Rafale Jet Fighter

New Delhi received its first four Dassault Rafales, completing a decades odyssey to get a new fighter for Indian aviation. The planes were delivered to the Indian Defense Minister, Raksha Mantri, at a ceremony held at the Mérignac production line in Dassault, near Bordeaux, in southwest France.

As part of an order for 36 units made in 2016 by the Narendra Modi government, the acquisition of Rafales in commerce has not been controversial. It took place shortly after the cancellation of the long-standing medium-sized multi-role fighter jet (MMRCA) contest.

In 2018, the Commander in Chief of the Air Force, BS Dhanoa, described the decision taken in 2016 to acquire the 36 aircraft as an "emergency purchase" to consolidate the decline in the number of combat units in India: There are 33 squadrons of combat in the country against an authorized force of 42.5.

dassault rafale indian air force

India Receives First Delivery of Dassault Rafale Jet Fighter

Although Rafale also won the MMRCA contest for 126 aircraft, this agreement collapsed despite three years of negotiations. Local examples would be responsible for the quality of the jets assembled in India.

As part of the compensation commitments related to the last transaction, the French manufacturer created a joint venture in India, Dassault Reliance Aerospace, which will manufacture several components for the Falcon 2000 commercial aircraft.

"I am especially honored to be the host of this ceremony today because India is part of Dassault Aviation's DNA. The long and secure relationship we share is an undeniable success and confirms my determination to establish Dassault Aviation in India in the long term.

"We have been with the Indian Air Force since 1953, we are fully committed to fulfilling its requirements for the coming decades and being part of India's ambitious vision for the future," said Eric Trappier, Executive Director. from Dassault.

Although the 36 Rafales give a boost to Indian aviation, the need for modernization remains urgent: in early 2018, the Ministry of Defense launched an information request (RFI) for 110 new fighters, essentially a restart of MMRCA, with the Local production again becoming an important element.

The stakeholders are Lockheed Martin with the F-16V (renamed F-21 for the competition), the Boeing F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, the Saab Gripen E / F and the Eurofighter Typhoon. There is also a separate requirement for 57 aircraft for an onboard fighter.

In addition, New Delhi continues to work on indigenous programs such as HAL Texas and the Low Observable Advanced Fighter.