As France goes under lockdown amidst Coronavirus (Covid-19) scare, the production of Dassault Rafale fighter jet has been halted by Dassault Aviation at the company’s production facility. While this will create a backlog for the multirole fighter aircraft manufacturer, Indian Air Force (IAF) says they are confident to receive the batch of four fighter jets by May 2020. The work in Dassault Aviation facility producing Rafale fighter jets for India has been stopped till March 31 in view of the measures taken by the French government to tackle Covid-19, Dassault will deliver its first batch by May this year.
The future deliveries can get affected only if the COVID-19 issue gets prolonged for a longer period. India has already received India-specific Rafale combat jets on which India pilots are training. Indian Air Force personnel are training at six different places in France. IAF ordered 36 units of the multi role fighter jets from Dassault after assessing multiple jets in a multi billion dollar deal. India has already received 3 fighter jets, with 1st jet being handed over at the companies plant in France and is awaiting for 11 other fighter jets in 2020. The fifth gen fighter jet will enhance the air superiority of the IAF and will be sent to India in a batch of 11 for next 3 years.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by 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. Many of the aircraft’s avionics and features, such as direct voice input, the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the optronique secteur frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, were domestically developed and produced for the Rafale programme.