Amid political chaos in India over the Rafale deal, the first jet manufactured by Dassault Aviation as per the requirement of the Indian Air Force (IAF) took its first flight in France on October 30. The two-seater variant aircraft is designated as RB 008. According to sources, RB stands for Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria as important role was played by him in negotiating the deal. Air Marshal Bhaduria was the Deputy Chief of the IAF during the contract negotiations for procuring 36 Rafale jets.
He is currently serving as Air Officer Commanding-In-Chief of the IAF’s Training Command. India signed Euro 7.87 billion (RS 59,000 crore) Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France in September 2016 for procuring 36 multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
Meanwhile in September this year, a six-member crew team of the IAF was sent to France to get trained on the Rafale fighter jets. According to media reports, the team was comprised of a fighter pilot, an engineer and four technicians. The crew was trained at the Saint-Dizier airbase in eastern France. The first lot of Rafale jets will be delivered to India in September 2019. Rafale Deal Controversy: A political fight to demoralise our forces
Last time India imported any foreign jets was Russian built- Sukhoi 30 fighter jets in 1997. Almost after 22 years, the country is now procuring the Rafale fighter jets to upgrade its fighter jet sqaudrons. The IAF also issued a request for information (RFI) to acquire 110 fighter jets in April this year, to get rid of shortage of fighter jets. The force received response to the RFI from six global aircraft manufactures – Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and Russian United Aircraft Corporation’s MiG-35. The entire deal will be of worth Rs $15 billion.
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