India is likely to receive the last batch of Rafale fighter jets from France later this year. At a time when India and China are facing a protracted stalemate on the border, Rafales will greatly support the IAF, which is managing a fleet of warplanes that are slowly reaching the end of their service life.
Showing confidence in the IAF’s existing fighter jets , an Indian defense expert, Deputy Air Chief of Staff Manmohan Bahadur said the country was well prepared to deal with any threat. Of the 36 Rafales ordered by India , France is expected to complete the delivery of the last by January 2022. To date, Dassault Aviation has delivered 26 Rafales, while two are in France, to support the training of IAF pilots and technicians.
There are indications that the IAF is looking to buy 36 more Rafale fighters; while the Indian Navy is seriously evaluating the Rafale-M version, for India’s first domestic aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is likely to be commissioned next year.
Some experts believe that, given the Rafale-M’s propulsion ratio and sea attack capabilities, it is beneficial to join the Indian Navy. Other top contenders for the Indian Navy’s carrier-based fighters are the US F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Russian MiG-29.
Defense analysts previously reported that the IAF’s operational capabilities have declined dramatically over the past two decades; The IAF is facing a severe aircraft shortage, as most of the fighters in service are expected to be retired soon.