France Postpones Delivery of Rafale Jet to India Due to Coronavirus
French aerospace titan Dassault Aviation is facing a new reality as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic spreads. The plane manufacturer stated that the production of Rafale fighter jetliners has been briefly canceled in France due to the coronavirus crisis, which could affect the delivery schedule of the aircraft to India.
Confronted with the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Dassault declared on February 27 that it must withdraw its objectives for the year 2020 because of “uncertainties relating to the size of the pandemic and its economic and social consequences“.
For its part, the Indian defense ministry is struggling to finalize the date for induction of the first four Rafale jetliners amid speculations of delayed delivery of fighter jets from France as a result of coronavirus threat.
Although India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh last week claimed that the first four Rafale jets would land in the country in the last week of May, the Air Force headquarters is yet to get affirmation from the French officers. Indian authorities Wednesday canceled all current visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organizations until April 15.
As well as, the lockdown directives are anticipated to continue in France at least until the end of April due to the severity of the crisis.
Last October, on a visit to France for the second India-France ministerial-level annual defense dialogue, Rajnath Singh accepted official delivery of the first Rafale jet constructed for the IAF at the Dassault Aviation’s facility in Merignac.
The Indian Air Force has awarded the contract for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes in 2016.