Indian Air Force (IAF) has officially received its first Rafale jet from France. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday formally received the first Rafale fighter jet from France at Dassault Aviation’s Merignac air base near Bordeaux in the southwestern part France.
Rajnath Singh flew in the two-seater Rafale jet. He was accompanied by French pilot Philippe Duchateau in the front cockpit with Singh sitting in the rear seat.
“It is a historic day,” Rajnath Singh said in his brief remarks before the formal acceptance of the aircraft. He also said that the aircraft will make IAF more stronger.
“Rafale will boost India’s air dominance exponentially,” Singh said after receiving the aircraft.
The delivery of the first Rafale aircraft coincided with the 87th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Air Force on Tuesday.
The Indian government had purchased 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a defence deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. The first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022.