India receives first Rafale fighter in France on Dasara

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets in France on the occasion of Dasara which is being celebrated across India on Tuesday.

The fighter jet was handed over at Merignac at a facility of Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale jets.

Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier welcomed Rajnath Singh after he landed at the Bordeaux-Merignac Air Base from Paris on a French military aircraft. He visited the production unit of Dassault Aviation led by Trappier and other French officials.

Rajnath Singh was shown a short audio-visual clip on the history of aircraft manufacturing by Dassault before the handing over ceremony. His French counterpart Florence Parly was also present during the handover ceremony.

"Former (French) President Jacques Chirac had laid the basic groundwork for strategic partnership between India and France along with Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee. We are thankful to them. Today is a milestone day for Indio-France strategic partnership and a new high in bilateral defence co-operation," he said.

A traditional Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) ceremony will take place, following which Rajnath Singh will undertake a sortie in a twin-seater trainer version of the fighter aircraft.

India chose October 8 for receiving the first Rafale jet not only because it is the occasion of Dussehra, but the day is also celebrated as Air Force Day every year. The festival of Dussehra symbolises the victory of good over evil as per Hindu traditions. Shastra Puja has been an integral part of Dasara for ages.

The first jet bears the tail number RB 001 which are the initials of Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, who played a key role on behalf of India in the Rafale negotiations with France.

Before proceeding to Dassault's Bordeaux facility, Rajnath Singh called on French President Emmanuel Macron at his official residence Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday. He also met the Parly and Defence Advisor to the President of France, Admiral Bernard Rogel.

Rajnath Singh is on a three-day visit to France accompanied by senior defence ministry officials, including Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and IAF vice chief, Air Marshal H.S. Arora, from Monday.

The IAF had "technically accepted" the first Rafale jet on September 20 after a pre-delivery inspection team completed the documentation formalities. Though Rajnath Singh received the first Rafale jet in a symbolic ceremony on Tuesday, it will be seen in Indian skies only in May 2020 when the first four jets physically arrive in India.

India had entered into an inter-governmental agreement with France and Dassault in September 2016 to acquire 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

Rafale, a 4.5 generation multi-role combat aircraft, will greatly increase India's geo-political stature in South Asia because no other country, including Pakistan, has as advanced an aircraft in its inventory.

India is the fourth country after France, Egypt and Qatar to have inducted the Rafale into its air force.

The first squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station in Punjab, considered as a strategic air base given its proximity to the Indo-Pakistan border. Then IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had resurrected this squadron - known as 17 Squadron or Golden Arrows - in September.

The second Rafale squadron will be based at the Hashimara Air Force Station in Alipurduar district of West Bengal which at present is home to the ageing MiG 27 Russian aircraft. 

Rajnath flies Rafale sortie in France

Merignac (France), Oct 8 (IANS): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took off for a sortie in a Rafale fighter jet from Merignac here soon after receiving the first of the 36 jets in France on Tuesday.

Rajnath is on a three-day visit to France where he received the first Rafale combat aircraft in Merignac from a facility of Dassault Aviation earlier on Tuesday in the presence of the firm's CEO Eric Trappier and French Defence Minister Florence Parly.

Dressed in a G-suit, Rajnath took to the cockpit of a twin-seater trainer version of the Rafale jet. He was helped with strapping on the security equipment by officials of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who have accompanied him on the trip. He waved his arms and showed the thumbs up sign before the glass cockpit of the fighter jet shut down upon him.

The multi-role aircraft took off from an airstrip near the facility of the Dassault Aviation at 7:24 p.m. IST for a sortie that would last nearly 30 minutes.

The fighter jet was flown by the chief test pilot of Dassault Aviation Phillipe Duchateau.

A 'Shastra Puja', traditional weapon worship ceremony, was conducted by Rajnath after receiving the first Rafale jet.

Rajnath had flown a sortie on India's indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport in Bengaluru last month.

India has entered into an inter-governmental agreement with France and Dassault to acquire 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The first four Rafale jets will arrive in India by May 2020.

"I am particularly honoured to host this ceremony today as India is part of Dassault Aviation's DNA. The long and trustful relationship we share is an undeniable success and underpins my determination of establishing for the long-term Dassault Aviation in India. We stand alongside the Indian Air Force since 1953, we are totally committed to fulfil its requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India's ambitious vision for the future," Trappier said in a statement.


Comment on this article

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Wed, Oct 9 2019

    When delivered or flown to India, let Rahul baba too have a look and also, a short audio-visual clip on the history of aircraft manufacturing . (Rafele controversy closed)

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • James, Belman

    Wed, Oct 9 2019

    Finally Anil Ambani's prayers were heard by Dhurga Matha on this Dussera festival and made him once again a billionaire with tax payers money. Thanks to modi and sha.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pakodawala, Mangaluru

    Wed, Oct 9 2019

    Rafaele Mama, where is he?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Atlanta

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Bankrupt Anil Ambani is Missing ...

    DisAgree [12] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • SmR, Karkala

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    The Supreme Court is set to issue judgment next month on a batch of petitions seeking a review of its December 2018 judgment on the Rafale deal.
    As Rajnath Singh receives first Rafale aircraft, here's what we still don't know about the deal;

    1) How did we go from UPA’s 126 to NDA’s 36?
    One of the procedural questions surrounding the Rafale deal has to do with how quickly the plan changed to acquire 126 aircraft and have a co-production plan with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to buying only 36 jets and roping in Anil Ambani’s company as an offset partner.

    2) Why was the need for a sovereign guarantee tossed aside?
    This guarantee is a legal obligation that is usually placed upon the country selling military equipment or aircraft and protects the buyer in case problems develop in the manufacture or delivery of the planes.

    3) Will the benchmark pricing controversy ever be addressed?
    One of the stronger controversies surrounding the Rafale deal is how the benchmark price for 36 aircraft was changed at the last minute. In particular, the benchmark price for the 36-jet deal was higher than the one that was received for the shelved 126-aircraft contract.

    4) Will the errors and flaws in the Supreme Court’s judgment be addressed?
    A few of the inaccuracies in the judgment include:

    A) Bizarrely confusing Mukesh Ambani’s old partnership with Dassault Aviation with the eventual contract that Anil Ambani that signed with the French defense company.
    B) Accepting the argument that HAL was responsible for the 126-aircraft deal falling through, despite public statements made by Dassault and former defense PSU.
    C) The initial judgment put out by the apex court bizarrely stated that the pricing details of the Rafale deal were shared with CAG and that it had been examined by the Public Accounts Committee.

    Interestingly, Supreme Court which consider Babri Masjid issue for a daily hearing will ever consider the “typing error” and an issue of misinterpretation?

    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [24] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anthony Philip D'Souza, Karnataka, Mumbai

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    What about commission money of these Rafale fighters..? BJP is saint..? Until recently, for purchase of Rafake fighters by Congress they kept on fighting commission money...but what about these Rafale Fighters commission money?

    DisAgree [14] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruben Pinto, Mangalore/Australia

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Do another Balakot right away.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [36] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deva, Pilar

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Great news.. Second Rafale Fighter expected when ?????????????????????

    DisAgree [6] Agree [31] Reply Report Abuse

  • I wish I was There, Bahrain

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    For Christmas, then he will go for Christmas gift to France.
    BJP, is good in playing cards, oh we love Christian.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Asif, Manglore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Next election will receive one more rafale fighter

    DisAgree [6] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • UMMAR, mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Good to have on Dasara celebration day ...india will be more powerful our enemy will afraid to attack us ...
    but still Rafale fighter deal document paper missing from office miracle incident

    DisAgree [9] Agree [50] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dylan, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Where did the minister tie the limboo and mirchi?

    DisAgree [19] Agree [43] Reply Report Abuse

  • I wish I was There, Bahrain

    Wed, Oct 9 2019

    Only thing left to add is Bafat masala.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Howdy, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Hopeless planes and waste of tax payers money. India is third country to acquire after Egypt and Qatar. No wonder Israel is wining war with these countries with its F-15, F-16 and F-35 very easily. No proven successful report of these aircrafts by any country only kept as white elephants. France itself is not using them in spite of having them. Just these 2 handicapped countries in the world having these aircrafts tells the true story.

    DisAgree [36] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Dont write non sense
    Which Aircraft was used during Balkot airstrike ?
    It was Mirage 2000 by India
    Mirage 2000 could effectively conduct Balakot Airstrike
    which Company Made it ?
    It was same Dasalut /Now making Rafale jets
    France used the same against Iraq,Syria ,Afghanistan all success
    Israel is not using F16 as you say They have upgraded all their 35 jets into Barak 2020
    Even USA doesnt use them
    Only Foolish Pakistan and some Poor and Middle class countries use them
    Rafaele is advanced fighet jets and France doesnt give to all countries

    DisAgree [23] Agree [43] Reply Report Abuse

  • Howdy, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Dr Quack
    Sukoi is much better than Rafale. These 2 countries Egypt and Qatar having them is used as toy to play dog fight cat fight. No other countries want them even for free except BJP as France can't get any other customers. BJP has been bribed to buy.

    DisAgree [26] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • AJ, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Hahahaha..You dnt knw what is F16 and what is barak 2020 rite ? Just to show off here, you wrote something..barak 2020 was a upgrade program for existing F 16s which means existing F16s were upgraded to more sophasticated avionics by israel who r still using an advance version of F16a and not something known as barak2020.There is no fighter jet by tbe name barak2020.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prashant Karkera, Hejamady

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Immediately migrate to countries having F-16 fighter jets....

    DisAgree [16] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Manvit, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Why CONgis stop crying Rafale scam, was it only election gimmick ??? If there was some scam why CONgis are not fighting??

    DisAgree [28] Agree [47] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prashant Karkera, Hejamady

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Congress is on the verge of obsolete, not even worth of discussion....

    DisAgree [12] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse


Title : India receives first Rafale fighter in France on Dasara


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