The most awaited moment arrived…! India Air Force for the first time in 30 years has added a batch of Next Generation fighter jets in their ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron. After covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km, the first five of a batch of 36 French Rafale fighter jets bought by India had a magnificent touch down at Haryana’s Ambala this afternoon.
The fighter jets earlier entered the Indian airspace at about 1.30 pm which received a heartily welcome by an Indian Navy warship, INS Kolkata, deployed in the western Arabian Sea.
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) July 29, 2020
Defence Minister Rajnath has confirmed that the five Rafales have landed at the Ambala airbase. He tweeted: “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC.”
Reportedly, the fleet comprising three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft will be part of the No. 17 Squadron of the Air Force after an official ceremony. The aircrew bringing the Rafales to India is headed by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, Shaurya Chakra was decorated with Shaurya Chakra in 2008 for safely landing a doomed MiG-21 Bison.
The jets, piloted by 6 IAF officers, took off from Merignac in southwest France and refuelled midair on the way-spectacular pictures of which were posted by the Air Force yesterday. Before making an epic touch down in India, the jets made a stopover in Al Dhafra in the UAE.
It is to the known knowledge that India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016 while the delivery of the first batch officially started in October last year. The planes stayed in France for the training of the pilots and mechanics. The entire contingent is to be delivered by 2022.