On 23 September 2016, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the contract for the purchase of 36 off-the-shelf Rafales in a deal worth €7.8 billion with an option for 18 more at the same inflation-adjusted price. The first Rafales are expected to be delivered by 2019, and India is set to have all 36 jets within six years. The deal includes weapons and spares; the aircraft will be equipped with Meteor BVRAAM missiles.It will meet the Indian Air Force’s critical operational requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft and enhance its strategic reach, especially in context of arch rival Pakistan
Rafale is a multi-role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking all types of missions with a capability to simultaneously perform both air defence and ground attack roles in a single mission. It will have features like advanced electronically scanned array radar, mid-air refuelling and advanced electronic warfare equipment.
. Sources said the version of Rafale aircraft supplied to India will have better operational capabilities than the Rafale being operated by other air forces in terms of better radar, better detection and survival features and will have capabilities for operations from higher altitude airfields. The maintenance support for 36 Rafale will be provided through Performance based logistics which also includes advanced training of three IAF pilots, one engineer and six technicians by the French Air Force.