Five Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale multirole fighter operated by Indian Air Force pilots took off from Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility to ferry to Ambala Air Force Station for entering service in N°17 Squadron “Golden Arrows”. This first ferry flight testifies that the program is running smoothly and that deliveries are on time in spite of COVID-19 pandemic. After a complete training of Indian pilots and technicians by Dassault Aviation, with the French Air Force’s participation, the Indian Air Force will fully perform this first ferry flight, including one air-to-air refueling, with the dedicated support of the French Air Force.
Dassault Aviation aircraft have been an integral part of Indian defence forces for over six decades. It initiates the induction of the Rafale in the Indian Air Force, in the frame of the contract of 36 aircraft, and paves the way to fulfill the present and future needs and requirements of the Government of India.The first Dassault Aviation aircraft, Toofani, was supplied to India in 1953, followed by the Mystere IV, the naval Alize, the Jaguar (manufactured under license by HAL), and the Mirage 2000. These aircraft have contributed to Indian sovereignty all along and the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft continues to be the IAF’s ‘cutting edge’ till date.
In March 2019, Indian government officials asked for Rafales to replace ageing MiG-21s and to counter Pakistan’s newer F-16s. The Indian Air Force Day 2019, the IAF accepted the aircraft at Dassault’s Bordeaux manufacturing facility in an event attended by Defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart; it had tail number “RB-001” to mark IAF chief-designate Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria’s role in the 2016 deal. In 2018, it was reported that the Rafale is competing against several other aircraft in a new procurement tender for 114 multi-role combat aircraft, which is referred as MMRCA 2.0 in the Indian media. Delivery of 36 Rafales started on 27 July 2020 with first 5 Rafales delivered to Indian Airforce from France.
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. The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era in that it is almost entirely built by one country, involving most of France’s major defence contractors, such as Dassault, Thales and Safran. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force.