New Delhi: A day after defence minister Rajnath Singh formally received the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets, Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer, released the first photographs of the second aircraft RB-002 on its website.

The first batch of four Rafale jets will fly India by May 2020. By September 2022, all 36 jets are expected to arrive in India. The three aircraft are named RB 001, RB 002 and RB 003 after the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief.

India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016.

Rafale jet is armed with meteor and scalp missiles which will provide the country unrivalled deep strike capability and air dominance in the region.

Meteor is known to be the best beyond visual range missile in the world while Scalp is a deep strike weapon. Meteor is a next-generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA, a European missile maker, to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

The Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022.

(Photo credit: © Dassault Aviation – G. Gosset)