The first batch of five Rafale jets flew out of France today and will arrive in India on Wednesday, when the fighter jets will officially be inducted and join the 17 squadron of Indian Air Force in Haryana's Ambala.
Jawed Ashraf, Indian Ambassador to France said, "These five Rafale jets are extremely swift, versatile and very deadly aircraft. They are both, beauty and beast. I would like to thank Dassault for delivering aircraft on time and the French Government and the French Air Force for all the support."
"The new Rafales add strategic depth and strength to India’s air combat capabilities. They fly out of France today to join the growing Indian fleet of aircraft," the Indian Embassy in France said on Monday.
"IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest," the IAF said last week.
According to reports, there will be a brief stopover in UAE and the five supersonic jets will be refuelled mid air too. The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac air base in southern France's Bordeaux today. Delivery of ten Rafale aircrafts have been completed on schedule. Five rafales will stay back in France for a training mission. First Rafale fighter jet was handed over to India in October 2019.
The first batch of five aircraft will be the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France in a 59 thousand -crore rupees inter-governmental deal in 2016. Twelve IAF pilots and engineering crew members are fully trained on the Rafale fighter jets. Armed with meteor and scalp missiles, Rafale fighter jets give teeth and an edge to India over her adversaries, reported AIR.