France steps up delivery of Rafale jets to India amid border dispute with China

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                La France va accélérer la livraison des avions de chasse Rafale en Inde sur «demande spéciale» de Delhi, qui devrait recevoir le premier lot de six d'ici le 27 juillet.
            

Les commandants des forces aériennes indiennes doivent se réunir cette semaine à New Delhi pour discuter de la situation sur la ligne de contrôle réel (LAC) avec la Chine, ainsi que de la station opérationnelle rapide de l'avion de combat Rafale.

Senior officials will meet at the two-day commanders conference on July 22, where they will also deliberate on a range of other security issues and a comprehensive review of the country’s air defense system.

    

Actuellement, une flotte de chasseurs comme le Mirage 2000, le Sukhoi-30 et les chasseurs MiG-29 a été déployée le long de la frontière, menant des opérations de jour comme de nuit.

In June, at least 20 Indian soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, in the Kashmir region. It is the largest military confrontation in nearly five decades.

“The possible deployment of Rafale fighter planes in the Ladakh sector is also on the agenda,” a senior Air Force official told RFI. “Its deployment will be a game-changer for the IAF in possible air operations. “

Operational edge

Following a special request from the IAF, France is sending six Rafale fighters, which will land at Ambala base in northern Haryana, where the 17th “Golden Arrows” Squadron will be based.

Originally, France was to deliver four jets in the first batch, officials said.

In a telephone conversation, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said he was assured by his French counterpart Florence Parly that despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Rafale aircraft would be delivered on time.


Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with a Rafale jet fighter © Indian Ministry of Defense
    
Les six avions de chasse doivent arriver à pleine charge avec les missiles air-air à longue portée Meteor, qui peuvent toucher des cibles à plus de 150 kilomètres.

“There is no doubt that the Rafale fighters will add to the operational strength of the IAF. We must soon make it operational, ”an official from the Defense Ministry told RFI.

    

En septembre 2016, l'Inde a signé un accord direct avec le gouvernement français pour l'achat de 36 nouveaux avions de chasse Rafale dans le cadre d'un accord de 7,87 milliards d'euros.

India will also receive the latest ammunition such as the Meteor and Scalp missiles as part of the contract, as well as a five-year support program that ensures high availability of the fighter.

Of the 36 Rafale jets, 30 are for combat, the other six being trainers.

            

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