Three Rafale fighter jets have been handed over to the Indian Air Force and are being used to train IAF pilots and technicians in France, the government said on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received the first Rafale jet at an air base in france on October 8. The first batch of four Rafale aircraft will arrive in India by May 2020.
India and France signed an Euro 7.87 billion (Rs 59,000 crore approximately) deal in September 2016 for 36 Rafale jets.
“Three Rafale fighter aircraft have been handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) till date which are being used for training of IAF pilots and technicians in France,” Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
Naik did not clarify when the two other aircraft were handed over to India.
He said that price of the jets was 2.86 per cent lower than the rates finalised during negotiations for procurement of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).
The MMRCA deal was negotiated by the UPA government. The final negotiations for it continued till early 2014 but the deal could not go through.
“The performance audit report of CAG on capital acquisition in IAF presented in Parliament on February 13 has brought out that the entire package price of 36 Rafale procurement is 2.86 per cent lower than the audit aligned price compared to MMRCA…