Indian Rafale fighter jets lands at Mérignac flight test centre in southwestern France

As France goes under lockdown amidst Coronavirus scare, the production of Rafale fighter jet has been halted by Dassault Aviation at the company's production facility. While this will create a backlog for the jet manufacturer, IAF says they are confident to receive the batch of four fighter jets by May 2020. As per ANI, an Indian Air Force source has said that until the production lockdown is prolonged, Dassault will deliver its first batch by May this year.

"The work in Dassault Aviation facility producing Rafale fighter jets for India has been stopped till March 31 in view of the measures taken by the French government to tackle Covid-19. Indian Air Force personnel are training at six different places in France," said source.

"There will be no effect on the arrival of the first batch of these fighters in India in May this year. The future deliveries can get affected only if the COVID-19 issue gets prolonged for a longer period. India has already received India-specific Rafale combat jets on which our pilots are training," they added.

IAF ordered 36 units of the multi role fighter jets from Dassault after assessing multiple jets in a multi billion dollar deal. India has already received 3 fighter jets, with 1st jet being handed over at the companies plant in France and is awaiting for 11 other fighter jets in 2020. The first 4 of which were supposed to reach India in May.

The fifth gen fighter jet will enhance the air superiority of the IAF and will be sent to India in a batch of 11 for next 3 years.