New Delhi: The tail number of the first Rafale aircraft which was received by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in France today is RB-01. The tail number is named after IAF Chief designate Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, the IAF sources told ANI. The tail number has been named after Bhadauria as he played a major role in finalising the deal between India and France.

The Central government had on Thursday appointed Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria as the new chief of Indian Air Force. Bhadauria will take over the charge after his predecessor BS Dhanoa retires on September 30.

“Government has decided to appoint Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC presently Vice Chief of Air Staff as the next Chief of the Air Staff,” Defence Ministry’s Principal Spokesperson, said.

Moving a bit closer towards flying the Rafale combat aircraft, the Indian Air Force on Thursday received the first Rafale aircraft at the Dassault Aviation manufacturing facility in France. It was received by a team of Indian Air Force officers led by Air Marshal VR Chaudhary. Later he flew in the plane for around one hour.

As per the agreement, after being delivered to the Indian side, the aircraft will undergo trials and tests for another seven months in France.

When Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit France on October 8 that time only the planes will officially be inducted into the IAF. But it will reach India only in May 2020 after validation of the India Specific Enhancements and training of pilots and personnel.

In small batches, Indian pilots have been trained on the French Air Force planes. The IAF will train over 24 pilots till May 2020 for flying the Indian Rafale fighter jets.

To reach to this level, India had on September of 2016 signed the deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over 7.8 billion euros to meet requirements on the eastern and western fronts.

(With inputs from ANI)