The Indian Air Force is readying two frontline bases for the deployment of the first squadron of Rafale fighters scheduled for delivery from September 2019.
The government has sanctioned INR 220 Crore (US$ 33.6 million) to set up 14 shelters, hangers and maintenance facilities at the 78- year-old base for the Rafale jets whose delivery is scheduled to begin from September, 2019, PTI reported quoted a senior IAF official as saying Sunday.
"We are creating infrastructure keeping in mind infrastructure requirement for the Rafale jets for next 40-50 years," the official said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media. The Ambala base is considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from it. Currently, the base has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MiG-21 Bison.
The IAF is also carrying out infrastructure upgrade at its Hasimara base in West Bengal+ which will house the second squadron of the Rafale jets, the official said. In September last year, India had signed a Euro 7.87 billion (approx Rs 59,000 crore) deal with the French government for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. Eighteen Rafale jets will be deployed in Ambala while an equal number of the new generation jet will be stationed in Hasimara. "We are planning to put in place all required infrastructure for Rafale squadron by end of next year," said the IAF official. The Ambala as well as Hasimara stations will also have simulator-based training facilities for the air crew of Rafale jets.
The IAF has already selected a batch of pilots to fly the jets and they are being given training by Dassault Aviation in France.
Rafale International met up with over 100 French small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to encourage investment and set up of production activities in India in the frame of the Rafale offset program under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ‘Make-in-India drive. During two-days Business to Business events held with Indian officials that took place in Paris on the 19 Sept along with the GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association, business opportunities aimed at enhancing the ties between the French and the Indian Aerospace communities in order to define cooperation domains between both industries and pave the way towards building up an aero-defence manufacturing...
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Rafale International (comprising Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales) presented their contribution to the Make in India policy as part of the Rafale Offset program and presented the potential opportunities for French SMEs to also invest and set up production activities in India. Rafale International has won a contract to sell 36 Rafale jets to the Indian Air Force and has to execute 50% offsets as part of the deal
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