5 Rafale Jets Take Off From France For India, To Be Stationed In Ambala

Pic courtesy: Twitter@Indian_Embassy · - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI: The first batch of five Rafale jets took off from France for India on Monday, July 27. The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at Ambala air base.

Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf interacted with the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots before they took off from France.

"Bon Voyage: Indian Ambassador to #France interacts with the Indian pilots of the Rafale. Congratulates and wishes them a safe flight to India with a single hop," the Indian Embassy in Paris tweeted.

According to a report by a news agency, the multi-role fighter aircraft are scheduled to arrive at Ambala air force station on Wednesday, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force under a Rs 59,000-crore deal.

The fleet is expected to significantly boost the IAF's combat capabilities at a time when India is locked in a tense border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

The five Rafales are scheduled to be inducted into the IAF on Wednesday afternoon. However, an IAF spokesperson told the news agency that a formal induction ceremony will be held in mid-August.

The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.

Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden. The Meteor is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives it far more engine power for much longer than any other missile, said an official.

Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems, among others.

The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.

The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to develop the required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases.

Out of the 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.

(Inputs from NDTV and PTI)

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