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3 of last 4 of 36 Rafale jets will be delivered by France in Feb 2022: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari

France has delivered 30 Rafale aircraft to India. Six more are set to be delivered by April next year. Indian Navy is looking for 57 combat aircraft for its second aircraft carrier


Out of the 36 Rafale aircrafts for which India had signed a contract with France, 32 have been delivered and out of the remaining four, three will arrive in India on time, that is, in February next year, said Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Saturday.

"As far as discussions on Rafale are concerned, we're thankful to them (France) for timely deliveries. You know that contract was for 36 aircraft,32 of which have been delivered. Out of the remaining four, 3 will arrive on time in Feb," said the IAF chief while addressing a press conference in Dundigal after reviewing the Combined Graduation Parade at Dundigal Air Force Academy.

He further stated that the last Rafale aircraft which will have India-specific enhancements will be delivered after all its trials are conducted.

"Last aircraft which will have India-specific enhancements will be delivered after all its trials conclude. We discussed with Defence Minister, future maintenance issues of Rafale and setting up of D-level maintenance in India," said the IAF chief on discussions with the French delegation.

The IAF chief's remarks on Rafale comes a day after French Defence Minister Florence Parly, citing close strategic ties between India and France, said that her country was ready to provide more Rafale combat aircraft if India wants them.

In New Delhi for the annual defence dialogue between the two countries, the French Defence Minister also targeted China for behaving aggressively in the region including the South China Sea where it attempts to hamper freedom of navigation in open seas.

"We as France are ready to answer any additional needs or request that could be made by India. We know that an aircraft carrier will soon be delivered. Aircraft are needed. So we are open and ready to provide any other Rafale if this is India's decision," Parly said in an interaction at the Ananta Centre think tank.

The French Defence Minister pointed out that the Indian Navy was soon to get the delivery of its second aircraft carrier INS Vikrant for which it would need more fighter aircraft.

France has delivered 30 Rafale aircraft to India. Six more are set to be delivered by April next year. Indian Navy is looking for 57 combat aircraft for its second aircraft carrier and the French Rafale aircraft is one of the contenders.

India signed its biggest ever defence deal with France in 2016 as part of which 36 Rafale aircraft were to be inducted into the Air Force. More than 30 planes have already arrived while the last few would be here by the end of this financial year.

India deployed the French aircraft swiftly along the border in the ongoing standoff with China.

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