Indian Air Force to receive first Rafale fighter jet in September

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is scheduled to receive its first French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jet by the end of September, according to Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France's Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Indian Air Force to receive first Rafale fighter jet in September A Rafale fighter jet being refuelled by a stratotanker while flying (Picture Source: French Air Force)

In 2016, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition for $US 8.8 billion. Out of the 36 Rafales ordered for the IAF, 28 are single-seat jets, designated Rafale EH, and the remaining are dual-seat jets, designated Rafale DH.

Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by the French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

The aircraft is also equipped with the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the OSF (optronique secteur frontal) infra-red search and track (IRST) system. It can even carry a 30 mm GIAT 30 DEFA cannon and can be armed with SCALP EG cruise missiles, MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles and AM39 Exocet sea skimming anti-ship missiles. The ones used by the French Air Force is capable of conducting nuclear strikes when armed with ASMP-A cruise missiles.