35 jets have arrived in India, while one remains in France
France has delivered all 36 Rafale fighter jets to India, said the French Envoy in India, Emmanuel Lenain, speaking on the sidelines of the French National Day celebrations on Thursday. However, while 35 jets have arrived in India, one jet still remains in France, official sources said.
The naval variant of the French jet, Rafale-M, is in the race along with Boeing F-18 Super Hornet for the Indian Navy’s tender for jets to operate from its aircraft carriers. In January, the Rafale-M had demonstrated its compatibility by operating from the Navy’s shore-based test facility in Goa, while the F-18 carried out demonstration in May.
The report on the operational demo is expected soon, after which the Navy would undertake a staff evaluation. Navy officials have said that they would recommend an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to conclude the deal.
India and France had signed a €7.87 billion inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in September 2016 for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition, following the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 citing “critical operational necessity” of the IAF.