Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and IAF Chief BS Dhanoa are scheduled to visit France on September 20 to receive the first bath of Rafale fighter aircrafts from French firm Dassault Aviation. According to news agency ANI, citing defence officials, a large Indian contingent led by Defence Minister is being sent by the Centre to receive the fighter jet.
The Rafale aircraft, which is being supplied to India, will come equipped with Meteor missile, SCALP ground attack missiles with a range of up to 300 kms. Upon receiving the aircrafts, Air Force will begin extensive trials of the combat fighter jets before actually inducting them in the service next year.
Training of the first batch of officers and technicians is already under way with the French Air Force. Speaking about the fighter jets, the Defence Ministry had said that Rafale aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force strategic deterrence and requisite capability to engage targets at long ranges.
India has signed an agreement to purchase two squadrons (36) of the twin-engine multi-role aircraft, capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and decided to base one each on its western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China.
Strategic deterrence is a strategy under which a country uses the threat of reprisal effectively to preclude an attack from an adversary. Last year, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had termed the introduction of the Rafale and the Russian S-400 missile defence system as "game-changer".