This Rafale is one of four Rafale fighter jets that will be inducted into the Indian Air Force on October 8. India is buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. 4 Rafale jets will be inducted into the IAF on October 8. IAF is in desperate need for new fighter jets

Photographs of India's first Rafale fighter jet, handed over to the Indian Air Force a few days ago, are out. Shot by French plane spotter JP Dewam, the photographs show the Rafale fighter jet in flight.

The Rafale jet is one of four fighter aircraft that will be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force on October 8. The twin-seater Rafale seen in Dewan's photographs is a trainer jet and carries the tail number RB 001, after Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.

Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria was the deputy chief of the Indian negotiating team that finalised the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets. The officer, who is presented the vice-chief of air staff, was among the first Indian pilots to fly the Rafale fighter jet and is set to succeed Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa as the Indian Air Force chief on September 30.

Manufactured by the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, the Rafale (which means a gust of wind in French) is touted to be a '4.5 generation' fighter jet -- the most advanced fighter aircraft in operation right now belong to the '5th generation'.

The Rafale jets will kick-start the Indian Air Force long-delayed exercise to replace its ageing fleet of fighter aircraft, which still includes jets from the Soviet era.


Originally, India was supposed to buy 126 Rafale jets under a deal that would have seen 108 of those fighter aircraft be built in India. However, continued delay in finalising the deal, which took shape under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, led to the Narendra Modi government cancelling the order in 2015.

A few months later, India and France signed an agreement to buy 36 Rafale jets 'off the rack', i.e. directly from Dassault with none of the aircraft being made in India. Dassault, however, did agree to make investments in India by tying up local partners.

The Modi government's move to cancel the original Rafale deal and buy 36 jets off the rack ran into controversy, with the Congress party raising allegations of crony capitalism and irregularities. The allegations were in big focus during the campaigning for this year's Lok Sabha election that the Modi-led BJP handsomely won.


The 36 Rafale jets -- 28 single-seaters and eight twin-seater trainers -- will be a shot in the arm for the Indian Air Force, which is in desperate need of new fighter jets.

Last year, the Indian Air Force initiated a process to buy 110 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, inviting bids from global fighter jet makers.

Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin's F-16 Fighting Falcon, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab's Gripen and Russian United Aircraft Corporation's MiG-35 are reportedly in the fray for the deal, which will see a majority of the jets being manufactured in India.