IAF sending pilots to France to train on Rafale fighter jets

A number of IAF teams have already visited France to help Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, incorporate India-specific enhancements in the fighter aircraft.

Published: 10th September 2018 01:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2018 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

Image of Rafale fighter jets used for representational purpose only. (File | Reuters)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Despite the ongoing political slugfest in relation with the Rafale deal with France, the Indian Air Force is making preparations to welcome the fighter jet, official sources said on Sunday. According to sources, the IAF is sending a batch of pilots to France to train on how to operate the jets. A number of IAF teams have already visited France to help Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, incorporate India-specific enhancements in the fighter aircraft.

India and France had inked a deal in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore. The delivery of the fighter aircraft is expected to start from September next year. The Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

The Opposition has targeted the government on the deal raising questions about the price. The government, on the other hand, has rejected all the charges. According to sources, the first squadron of Rafale jets would be stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station due to the fact that it is strategically placed just 200 kms from the Indo-Pakistan border. The second Rafale squadron will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. Officials said the government has already sanctioned around Rs 400 crore to develop required infrastructure like shelters, hangers and maintenance facilities at the two bases. Sources said France has been regularly briefing India about the progress in the project to supply the jets.

In July 2017, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, during his visit to France, flew a Rafale jet at the Saint-Dizier airbase to gain a first-hand experience of the aircraft. According to the deal, the delivery of the jets will start in 36 months and will be completed in 67 months from the date the contract was inked. Meanwhile, senior Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said IAF officials have been forced to praise the new Rafale fighter aircraft deal signed.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp