India receives first Rafale Jet from France for Indian Air Force

Defence Minister received the first Rafale jet built for Indian Air Force (IAF) in France. The full first batch of jets will arrive in India only in May 2020.

Key Facts:

  • The word Rafale is a French word meaning gust of wind. It will boost India?s air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region.
  • It is a twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft and has omnirole. This can carry out both air-to-ground as well as air-to-air attacks
  • Shastra puja was performed on the aircraft on the occasion of Vijayadashami before fleeing a sortie.
  • 18 Rafales will be delivered by February 2021 and by 2022 all the 36 will be delivered.
  • The RB in the aircraft designation stands for IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria who as then Deputy Chief of IAF led the Indian negotiation team and had a significant role in the contract negotiations.

Invitation to the defence sector for investment

  • Defence Minister urged the Chief Executive of the various French defence industry to participate in ?Make in India? and the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5-8, 2020.

Background

  • In September 2016, India and France signed a ?7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
  • As per IGA, deliveries begin 36 months from signing of a contract and will be completed in 67 months.

Rafale Controversy:

  • The cost breakdown of Rafale in the original bid under UPA and in the 36 aircraft in the government-to-government deal under NDA is not in the public domain.
  • There was no agreement on the technology transfer in UPA deal, it was just an offer of License Manufacturing technology. Under the current agreement, the 36 Rafael procurement offset proposal supports the ?Make in India? initiative if the Indian government through Article 12 of IGA.
  • CAG found that 2016 deal to be 2.86 per cent cheaper than the deal negotiated by UPA government.

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