France says will deliver Rafale fighter jets to IAF on time despite Covid-19

Updated on Jun 02, 2020 07:53 PM IST
The IAF is likely to get the delivery of the first batch of four Rafale jets from France by July-end. The four fighters were supposed to fly to their home base in India in May 2020, but the plan was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet takes off after the delivery ceremony at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, October 8, 2019.(REUTERS)
The first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet takes off after the delivery ceremony at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, October 8, 2019.(REUTERS)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

France has said that it will deliver Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force on time despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. This was communicated to defence minister Rajnath Singh by his French counterpart Florence Parly during a phone call on Tuesday.

“France reaffirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale aircraft despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the defence ministry said in a statement after the two ministers spoke.

The IAF is likely to get the delivery of the first batch of four Rafale jets from France by July-end. The four fighters were supposed to fly to their home base in India in May 2020, but the plan was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Confinement measures announced by France to battle the outbreak had temporarily halted production at aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s Merignac facility.

India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016 as an emergency purchase to arrest the worrying slide in the air force’s combat capabilities.

According to the delivery schedule, the first 18 jets (including the four in the first batch) are supposed to be delivered to the IAF by February 2021, with the rest expected by April-May 2022.

France handed over to India its first Rafale fighter during a ceremony attended by Singh and Parly in Merignac on October 8, 2019, which coincided with the IAF’s 87th founding day and the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

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