India will receive another 8 to 9 Rafale jets from France by mid-May, with some expected later this month, completing the first squadron of the fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF), according to a defense official.
- With the inductions this month set to complete the first squadron, which currently has 14 jets, the IAF is all set to operationalize the second Rafale squadron at Hasimara in West Bengal later this month.
- Last September, the IAF inducted the batch of five Rafales, of the 36 contracted from France under a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in September 2016 with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE).
- The first batch of five jets, three single-seat, and two twin-seater trainers, were formally inducted into the No. 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the IAF last September at the Ambala Air Force station.
- The second batch of three Rafales arrived in India last November. The third batch of three Rafales arrived in India in January. The fourth batch of three jets arrived on March 31.
- Last December, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said the Force would get three to four Rafales every two to three months till all 36 jets are delivered and added that the first squadron would be fully ready by the end of 2021 and the second squadron by 2023.