Dassault Aviation releases images of second Rafale aircraft for Indian Air Force

by Gabriel Dominguez

France’s Dassault Aviation has released images of the second of 36 Rafale multirole fighter aircraft New Delhi ordered in September 2016 for the Indian Air Force (IAF) for EUR7.9 billion (USD8.73 billion).

France’s Dassault Aviation has released images of the second of 36 Rafale aircraft ordered for the IAF in September 2016. (Dassault Aviation/G. Gosset)

France’s Dassault Aviation has released images of the second of 36 Rafale aircraft ordered for the IAF in September 2016. (Dassault Aviation/G. Gosset)

The publication of the images, which show the aircraft (tail number RB 002) in flight, came a day after the company handed over the first Rafale to the Indian government in a ceremony held at Dassault’s assembly facility in Bordeaux-Mérignac on 8 October that coincided with the Hindu festival of Dussehra and the 87th founding anniversary of the IAF.

These aircraft are expected to arrive in India in May 2020 as part of a first batch of four Rafales that will be ferried to Ambala Air Force Station (AFS) for induction into the IAF’s 17 ‘Golden Arrow’ Squadron, which was formally reinstated on 10 September, about eight years after it was decommissioned following the retirement of its Soviet-era MiG-21 aircraft.

Before arriving in India, the Rafales will be flown by IAF pilots in France for at least 1,500 hours as part of the testing and acceptance process.

While one Rafale squadron of 18 fighters, including four dual-seat trainers, will be based at Ambala AFS near India’s border with Pakistan, the second one, which will have a similar configuration, will be stationed at Hasimara AFS in northeastern India near the country’s disputed border with China. These aircraft are set to be inducted into the IAF’s 101 ‘Falcons’ Squadron, which is also set to be reinstated.

All of the IAF Rafales will feature 13 ‘India Specific Enhancements’ (ISEs) or customised add-ons, which accounted for USD1.1 billion of the overall fighter deal.

The second of the 36 Rafale fighters on order for the IAF bears the tail number RB 002. (Dassault Aviation/G. Gosset)
The first batch of four Rafale fighters is expected to arrive in India by May 2020. (Dassault Aviation/G. Gosset)

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France’s Dassault Aviation has released images of the second of 36 Rafale multirole fighter aircraft...

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