First five IAF Rafale fighter jets take off from Dassault Aviation Facility in France
NEW DELHI | JULY 27, 2020:
The first batch of five out of 36 Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale fighter jets took off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac in France, today morning. These five include three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft.
The ferry of the aircraft is planned in two stages and will be undertaken by the pilots of the IAF, who have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft.
The Air to Air Refuelling planned during the first leg of the ferry will be undertaken by these pilots with dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force.
The aircraft are likely to arrive at Air Force Station, Ambala on July 29 subject to weather and the final induction ceremony will take place in August. No. 17 Squadron, the "Golden Arrows", is being raised at this base equipped with Rafale aircraft.
With the Indian Army stretched between the northern borders with China and locked in multiple standoffs with the People's Liberation Army, the western borders have witnessed an increase in cross-border firing and infiltration attempts from the Pakistan side. The fighter jets could tip the scales in India's favour.
It may be mentioned that India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets for Rs. 58,000 crore. The jets are manufactured by France-based Dassault Aviation.