The first batch of five Rafale jets are likely to arrive in India from France by July end, the Indian Air Force said. The aircraft will officially be inducted on July 29, it said in a statement, adding aircrew and ground staff have been extensively trained to operate the technologically advance fighters.
"The first batch of five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale is likely to arrive in India by end July 2020. The aircraft will be inducted at Air Force Station Ambala on 29 July subject to weather. No media coverage is planned on arrival. The final induction ceremony will take place in second half of August 20 wherein full media coverage would be planned," the IAF statement read.
"IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest," it added.
The five aircraft will be the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France in an inter-governmental deal in 2016.
The fighter jets are capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons, including the Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile.
The Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.
The Air Force has readied the required infrastructure to welcome the jets in its line-up.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, last month, held a telephonic conversation with his French counterpart Florence Parly, who assured the delivery of the first batch of plane would take place as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic.
"France reaffirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale Aircraft despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," the ministry said in a statement.
With inputs from PTI