The French company and manufacturer, Dassault Aviation has released the first airborne photographs of the second aircraft with the tail number RB-002. It comes one day after India got the delivery of Rafale fighter jet RB-001.
As per deal, out of the 36 Rafale jets the first batch of four aircraft are expected to arrive in India in May next year. The rest of the aircrafts will arrive by September 22. RB stands for the newly appointed IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduria, in recognition of his role in striking the Rs.59,000-crore Rafale deal in 2016.
Indian Air Force handed over to Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister, the first of the 36 high-precision Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft with 13 India-specific enhancements sought by the Indian Air Force.
On Tuesday, the handover ceremony took place at a facility of Dassault Aviation in the Merignac area of Bordeaux, around 590 km from Paris. Mr. Singh took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and then performed the Shastra Puja, the traditional worship of weapons on Dussehra.
Later, Rajnath Singh took a 20-minute sortie in the aircraft. A French pilot flew the customised aircraft with tail number RB-001. He took a flight in the rafale jet and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “decisiveness”.
“It was a very comfortable and smooth flight. It was an unprecedented moment, I had never thought that one day I will fly at supersonic speed in an aircraft,” Mr Singh was quoted as saying.
“This aircraft marks a massive enhancement in the Indian Air Force combat capability but that enhancement is not for attack purposes but as a deterrent for self defence. And, the credit for this milestone goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose decisiveness has made this crucial air enhancement possible today,” he added.