The twin-jet Rafale combat aircraft would be delivered to the Indian Air Force by July end, top defence officials said on Monday.

The Defence official added that France, at the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, informed India of this delivery date.

“French company Dassault Aviation is expected to deliver the much awaited twin-jet combat aircraft Rafale by July end,” IANS quoted a senior IAF officer as saying.

“It would inform us of the delivery date and also if there would be any delay. As of today, everyone is expecting that it would be delivered as told by the French company,” he added.

On the question about July 27 as the delivery date, the IAF officer said: “We are not aware.”

Earlier on June 2, France had reaffirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale aircraft despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The expected date of delivery is July end.

France’s reaffirmation came when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a telephonic conversation with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.

The leaders had discussed matters of mutual concern including the Covid-19 situation, regional security and agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

The Indian Defence Ministry had then said that France had reaffirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale aircraft despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In September 2016, India had signed a deal worth over Rs 60,000 crore with France for 36 Rafales to meet the emergency requirements of the Indian Air Force.