India receives first Rafale fighter jet from France (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Dassault Aviation has delivered the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets ordered for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2016. IndiaвЂ™s defense minister was quick to seize an opportunity to try out the new addition to the fleet.
Rajnath Singh led the Indian delegation to Mérignac, France, for the handover ceremony of the French-built warplane. The date coincides with the birthday of the IAF and falls just after a Hindu religious festival for worshiping tools and weapons, which gave the Indian official a chance to perform a good luck ritual for the jet.
#WATCH MГ©rignac(France): #Rafale jet carrying Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes off for a sortie. It is being flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassualt Aviation. pic.twitter.com/i99hZmB7aF— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2019
"The relationship between Dassault and India dates back to 1953. This event once again highlights the unique and strong strategic relationship between our two countries and between Dassault and the IAF. No doubt that this first Rafale marks the beginning of a new long history" pic.twitter.com/qcpL5YfJXx— Dassault Aviation (@Dassault_OnAir) October 8, 2019
India purchased the French aircraft as part of New Delhi’s effort to diversify its fleet. India initially wanted to add as many as 126 new light fighter jets to its arsenal, but the ambitious plan had to be adjusted due to rising costs and budgetary considerations. The delivery of 36 Rafales is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
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