First batch of Rafale combat aircraft expected to reach Ambala on July 29

The first five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafales took off from Dassault Aviation Facility at Merignac in France on July 27.  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 29 July 20 subject to weather. No 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”, is being raised at this base equipped with Rafale aircraft. India has bought 36 Rafale jets in a deal worth 7.87 billion euros.

The Indian Embassy in France on Twitter shared a series of videos of the fighter jets. It termed the Rafale deal between India and France as “a new milestone in India-France defence cooperation”. The Indian Embassy also said that the fighter aircraft will be covering a distance of 7,000 km with a single stop in UAE and air-to-air refuelling the final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August 20 wherein full media coverage would be planned. Defence experts say made in France  Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft capable of operating from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The fully versatile Rafale can carry out all combat aviation missions, air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. With more than 30,000 flight hours in operations, Dassault Aviation Rafale has proven its worth in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

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