First batch of 5 Rafale jets to arrive today

The first five of a batch of French Rafale fighter jets will touch down at Haryana’s Ambala this afternoon after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force fleet.

The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, will be inducted into the Indian Air Force at the Ambala airbase in Haryana. The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac airbase in southern France’s Bordeaux on Monday.

The five aircraft are part of 36 planes bought by India from France in a 59,000-crore rupees inter-governmental deal in 2016. The aircraft is covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km from France to India with mid-air refuelling and a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indian Embassy in France in a statement said, delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule but five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.

The Rafale fighter jets had mid-air refuelling before reaching the Al-Dhafra air base in UAE. After the layover, the jets will embark on the their final leg of journey to India. The Indian Air Force, appreciated the support provided by French Air Force for the Rafale journey back home. The fighter jets are capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons, including the Keter air to air missile and scalp cruise missile.

The Rafale jets will come with various India specific modifications, including Israeli helmet mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers and 10 hour flight data recording. The Air Force has readied the required infrastructure to welcome the jets in its line up.