IAF Rafael Fighters To Have Tail Series Numbers Staring With BS Honouring ACM Birendra Singh Dhanoa
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria the then Deputy Chief of Air Staff heading the contract negotiations for the agreement was the head of the Indian negotiating team which had signed the Indo French Rafael deal worth 7.8 billion Euro in September 2016.
At that time, Dhanoa was the Vice Chief of Air Staff looking after the operations of the force. The Indian side has now already received three-trainer aircraft from the French company, which are being used for training IAF pilots in France.
The first fighter aircraft is expected to arrive in India by May next year along with 8-10 Meteor air-to-air beyond visual range missiles.
The Indian Rafael fighter jets will fly with the tail sign ‘BS’ after the recently retired Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa. While the two-sweater trainer Rafales will have the tail number initials of present Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria RB, the fighter versions will fly with the tail sign initials of BS after the previous chief Dhanoa, said IAF officials.
The tail number initials are given by the operations branch of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as every aircraft in the force has a unique tail number in a series.
In the fleet of one type of combat aircraft, the tail numbers of trainer and fighter aircraft have a separate set of alphabets as initials. Thereafter, numbers are in a series said the IAF source.
The French side is considering the Indian request for 8-10 Meteor missiles to be given to India by 2020 with the first four aircraft said a Defence Ministry official.
India is also considering the French request for Indian experts to check the performance of the Rafael at the French base in the UAE in an environment of high temperature.
The French side is also sending its Rafael A44M fighter aircraft to India by 2020. As per sources, the 36 Indian Rafael fighters would include four Rafael trainer planes while the remaining 32 would be fighter variants.