India is likely to receive around six fully-loaded Rafale fighter aircraft by July-end fitted with the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles, which is expected to boost the capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
The Rafales along with the Meteor missiles can hit targets at more than 150 km strike range.
“Depending upon the situation and the ongoing training of IAF pilots in France, we may get six Rafales by July-end. The aircraft will be arriving with their full package and will be made operational within few days itself,” government sources told news agency ANI.
The report comes amid the ongoing dispute with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The original plan was to get four Rafales including three twin-seater trainer versions for training the pilots at the Ambala Air Force station, which will be the first base of the Rafale fighter jets in India. The second base would be in Hashimara, West Bengal, sources said.
The number of aircraft set to arrive in India might be higher according to requirement and a decision will be taken keeping in mind the training requirements of the pilots already stationed in France, the sources said.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Air Force has worked hard to ensure that the ground infrastructure gets ready by the time the planes land.
The IAF officials said the date of arrival of the planes would be decided by mid-July after taking…