3 more Rafale jets land in India after non-stop flight from France
The aircraft got airborne earlier Wednesday from Istres Air Base in France and few non-stop for 7000 km.
India’s Rafale squadron added more muscle after the third batch of three fighter jets arrived in India on Wednesday night after flying non-stop from France, the Indian Air Force said
“The third batch of three Rafale aircraft landed at an IAF base a short while ago. They flew over 7000Km with in-flight refuelling. The aircraft got airborne earlier in the day from #IstresAirBase in France. IAF deeply appreciates the tanker support provided by UAE Air Force,” the IAF tweeted.
The new jets will bolster the strength of the Indian Air Force’s only Rafale squadron which is based in Ambala.
This is the third set of deliveries of the aircraft to the IAF. India ordered 36 warplanes from France (equivalent of two squadrons) in September 2016 for ₹59,000 crore under a government-to-government deal. With the new jets, the number of Rafales in the IAF’s inventory has increased to 11.
The second batch of the IAF’s three Rafale fighter jets had reached the Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat from France in early November before they flew to their home base in Ambala. The first batch of five Rafale jets reached the Ambala air base on July 29 after a stopover at the Al Dhafra air base near Abu Dhabi. A formal induction ceremony of the war planes took place later on September 10, 2020.
The IAF has been operating the fighter jets in the Ladakh theatre where the military is on high alert amid a border row with China.
On Tuesday, the Rafales took part in the Republic Day flypast for the first time.
All the 36 planes are likely to join the IAF’s fighter fleet by the year-end. The second Rafale squadron will be based at Hasimara in West Bengal to strengthen the IAF’s capabilities in the eastern sector.