3 more Rafale jets leave for India from France
- India ordered 36 warplanes from France (equivalent of two squadrons) in 2016 for Rs.59,000 crore under a government-to-government deal.
Three Rafale jets took off from the Bordeaux–Mérignac airbase in France on Wednesday and were scheduled to reach India by night, taking the total number of Rafales in the Indian Air Force inventory to 21 and setting the stage for raising the second squadron of the fighters in the country’s eastern sector, officials familiar with the development said.
“Next batch of three #Rafales leave from France to India today; wished the pilots smooth flight and safe landing,” the Indian embassy in France said on Twitter. This is the sixth ferry of Rafale jets from France to India.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria last month flagged off four Rafale jets from France to India. Bhadauria was in France on a five-day visit in April.
India ordered 36 warplanes from France (equivalent of two squadrons) in 2016 for Rs.59,000 crore under a government-to-government deal. The jets’ arrival will allow the IAF to begin raising its second Rafale squadron at Hasimara in West Bengal. “The new jets will be based in Ambala initially before moving to Hasimara when the raising of the squadron begins,” said one of the persons cited above. All the 36 planes are likely to join the IAF’s fighter fleet by the year-end.