Saturday 5 October 2019 3:31 AM UTC
New Delhi Oct 5: The first four of 36 Rafale jets will come to India by May next year and the aircraft will significantly enhance the Indian Air Force’s combat prowess, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said on Friday.
In his first press conference after taking charge of the top post on September 30, Mr Bhadauria said the acquisition of the Rafale aircraft and the S-400 missile systems will give major boost to IAF’s operational capability.
India sealed a deal with Russia in October last year to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missiles at a cost of 5 billion dollars.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to travel to France on October 7 on a three-day visit, primarily to receive the first Rafale fighter jet.
Mr Bhadauria said though India will receive the first Rafale jets next week, the aircraft will come to India only in May.
“A batch of four Rafale jets will come to India in May next year,” he said.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs.58,000 crore.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles.
Asked whether the IAF was looking at buying another batch of 36 Rafale jets, the IAF chief said no such proposal is on the table and that the force is focusing on acquiring 114 fighter jets as announced last year.
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