Dassault Aviation’s Rafale is a multi-role jet that can perform strike and air superiority missions
Far removed from the politics surrounding India’s Rs 58,000 crore deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets, three of the fighters are presently in India and are exercising with the Indian Air Force at the Gwalior and Agra air base.
Air Force pilots will get an opportunity to fly the French fighters, which are transiting through India. India will receive the first of its own Rafale fighters in the middle of next year.
The government of france terms the present deployment of the fighter jets as an “operational mission (which) aims to reinforce France’s presence in this region of strategic interest and deepen its relations with its main partner countries.”
The French Air Force Rafales are on their way back home after participating in Exercise Pitch Black, the largest multilateral air exercises that ended recently in Australia.
The Indian Air Force also participated in these exercises with its Russian-designed Sukhoi-30 jets. The Rafales and Sukhois had an opportunity to exercise together in Australia as well with pilots from either side flying each other’s aircraft.
As part of their deployment in India, the French Air Force has arrived with a hundred aviators who will be in India for a three-day stopover. Along with the Rafale fighters, the French Air Force contingent includes…