While the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets has made a lot of headlines and also generated a lot of controversy, this is not the first aircraft that the Indian Air Force is acquiring from Dassault Aviation. Dassault Aviation has had a long association with the Indian defence forces.
In the past, there have been several fighter jets that have been supplied to India by Dassault Aviation. These include Toofani, Mystere IV, the Jaguar and the Mirage 2000.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) October 24, 2017
Toofani: The first Dassault Aviation aircraft, Toofani was ordered by India in 1953. 71 Ouragans (Toofani) were supplied to India in March 1954 with an additional 33 second-hand Ouragans taking the total number of aircraft to 104. The first generation straight wing fighter from France - Ouragon - was inducted by the IAF to augment the earlier used Vampire as the mainstay fighter. The Ouragan was used by the IAF for nearly 15 years. As mentioned in the book 'Baptism Under Fire', the Ouragan were used during the liberation war of Goa in 1961 and in 1962 to perform reconnaissance missions during the Sino-India War.
Mystere IV: In 1957, the IAF saw a major expansion when 104 Mystere IV A joined the Toofani. Mystere IVAs was the first "supersonic-in-a-dive" aircraft in the IAF. 110 Mystere IVAs were inducted into the IAF from 1957 onwards and were extensively used in ground attack role during the war with Pakistan. The Mystere IV stayed operational in the IAF until 1973.
Feb. 23 1951, the first flight of the Dassault Mystère MD.452
photo shows IAF Mystere IVA pic.twitter.com/LGqbMy0d9v
— World Air Photo (@planenut27) February 24, 2016
Alize: In 1960, 12 Breguet Br-1050 ALIZE ASW Turboprop aircraft were purchased to create a carrier-based ASW and Reconnaissance squadron aboard the newly purchased aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. Later, in 1966-67 two more ALIZE were released and transferred to the INAS 310 Squadron (August 1968), as attrition replacements.
— Sébastien Clavier (@clavierwrkspace) April 12, 2015
Jaguar: In 1978, the IAF placed an order for 40 Jaguars and got a license to build 120 Jaguar aircraft at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The IAF temporarily accepted two Jaguars in July 1979 under the first batch but starting establishing its own production line in HAL. The Airforce Technology website states that the delivery of the second batch of 40 Jaguars began in 1981 while the third batch comprising assembly kits of 45 aircraft were transported to HAL in May 1981. The IAF acquired 17 Jaguars in 1999 and 20 more between 2001 and 2002.
#YearsBack on this day #IAF - 19 Jul 1979 : First two Anglo-French #JAGUAR fighter aircraft accepted by the Indian officials in UK from British Aerospace. The aircraft arrived at Ambala air base on 26 Jul 1979. pic.twitter.com/ZyctiPykuo
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 19, 2018
Mirage 2000: In 1982 and 1986, the IAF ordered a total of 42 single seat (H) and 7 dual seat (TH) MIRAGE 2000 aircraft and 10 more (4 H and 6 TH) in 2000. Three squadrons Tigers, Battle Axes and Wolfpack, at Gwalior, operate the fleet.
— MIB India (@MIB_India) May 21, 2015
In 2015, the company got into a joint venture with Anil Ambani led Reliance for form Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited. The company asserted that it is committed to contributing towards building up an aero-defence manufacturing eco-system in India so as to position the country as an international supplier reference in the global aerospace market.
"Dassault Aviation Executive Committee rallies around the huge challenge to highly contribute to the 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' policies that will lead to India’s self-sufficiency in the aerospace domain," Dassault Aviation had said.
From the Rafale fighter to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones, Dassault Aviation has delivered aircraft in over 90 countries over the last century.