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06:37 PM, July 16, 2017
Indian Air Force Chief To Visit Dassault Facilities in France, Fly Rafale Fighter Jet
IAF Chief ACM B.S. Dhanoa in the cockpit of a LCA Tejas fighter jet

Indian Air Force Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Birender Singh Dhanoa will visit France from 17-20 July where he will call on the headquarters of French Air Force and a few operational Air Bases.

The CAS is planned to visit the facilities of Dassault Aviation where the Rafale aircraft meant for India are to be built. He is also planned to fly a sortie in the Rafale jet fighter, an official release said today.

The main focus of the visit will be on improving bilateral relations, promote defence ties, and outline further areas of  defence cooperation between the two countries, the release said.

India signed a deal in 2016 to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets in a deal worth $7.8 billion in a fly-away condition. The deal includes weapons and depot-level maintenance provided by Dassault Aviation. The aircraft have been bought to meet the urgent operational requirements of the IAF.

India is expected to receive the first aircraft around 2019-2020.

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