India adds five Rafale aircraft amid border tensions with China
Published: 10:24 PM, 29 July 2020 Updated: 10:26 PM, 29 July 2020
Five new Rafale fighter jets have been added in Indian Air Force amid ongoing border tensions with China.
India received the aircraft as the first delivery of the 36 warplanes purchase deal with France in 2016.
The country is hoping to modernize its dwindling Soviet-era air force fleet with the induction of Rafale multi-role jets. But according to experts, these aircraft cannot be used right away in case of a conflict.
Air Marshal (retd) Pranab Kumar Barbora, who oversaw the induction of the Jaguar aircraft fleet, told that the arrival of the Rafale was a welcome move because it will significantly enhance the air force’s capability.
“But it will take a while before these aircraft are fully operational. You have to set up a logistics chain, train technical and ground staff in India,” he said.
He added that it usually takes up to two years before a new squadron is fully functional. The Rafale squadron will be fully operational when it has at least 18 aircraft. The delivery of the remaining Rafale aircraft is expected to be completed by next year.