Amid political slugfest, India has already made more than 50 per cent of the payment to France under the deal it signed for 36 Rafale fighter jets. India had placed an order for 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale in 2016 at a price Rs 59,000 crore.
The delivery of these aircraft is scheduled between November 2019 and April 2022. However, 13 upgrades requested by the Indian Airforce on 36 jets will take come more time and is expected to be fully operational by September-October 2022. These upgrades will require another six months to undergo "software certification" after their arrival in India.
English leading daily, the Times of India reported quoting its sources that "around Rs 34,000 crore" has been paid in "milestone-linked instalments". "Another instalment of Rs 13,000 crore is to be made later this year," the source added. The entire amount of Rs. 59,000 crore will be paid in instalments with the first 15% instalment being paid soon after the agreement was signed between the two sides in September 2016.
Apart from the first instalment, other instalments linked to milestones, like the completion of critical design review and documentation, were also cleared by India. One of the sources added that "the remaining instalments are linked to actual deliveries, with the final tranche to be paid in 2022."
The first four jets from Dassault Aviation will be delivered to the Indian Airforce (IAF) in France in September. Post its delivery, a training session for the "main" induction team of around 10 pilots, 10 flight engineers, and 40 technicians will be held.
As the plan drawn by the IAF, these Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana in May 2020. IAF has planned to station a squadron of 18 Rafales each at Ambala and Hasimara (West Bengal) airbases which will strengthen the Air superiority in the regions facing Pakistan and China.
The government has sanctioned Rs. 450 crore for the infrastructure development in these two airbases which can provide enough space for two Rafale squadrons each.