Updated: September 16, 2020 1:40:19 pm
Calling it a “historic day” for India’s national security, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday said the induction of Rafale jets is important given the “atmosphere being created along the borders.”
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The next batch of the jets is likely to arrive in October, and the last of the 36 aircraft will come to India by the end of 2021.
The state-of-the-art 4.5 Generation Rafale jet can reach almost double the speed of sound, with a top speed of 1.8 Mach. With its multi-role capabilities, including electronic warfare, air defence, ground support and in-depth strikes, the Rafale lends air superiority to the Indian Air Force.
India’s last major acquisition of fighter planes was 23 years ago, when the Sukhois were imported from Russia. The IAF is down to 31 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of at least 42.
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