First Batch Of Rafale Fighter Jets Ready To Take-Off From France; Indian Embassy Shares Pictures
In a major boost to defence capabilities of India, the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets will start its journey from France to India. It is expected to halt at UAE and reach Ambala, their planned home base on Wednesday, reports Times Now.
The aircraft will be inducted in Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday, while the final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August.
The Indian mission in France released pictures of Rafales bound for India.
"IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now," IAF had said last week.
Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest.
The Rafale fighter aircraft will be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.
A senior Indian Air Force officer said that Rafale fighter jets would be a major force multiplier. "There would always be a fear factor within the minds of the enemies," said the officer, adding that even one Indian Rafale fighter can thwart the enemy's plans.
He also explained that India will be supreme in the sky when the Rafale fighet aircraft come to the theatre.
Of the two squadrons, one will be at the Ambala Air Force Station and the other at Hashimara and will be dedicated for the northern borders.
The 'Golden Arrows' 17 Squadron, which operated from the Bhatinda air base, was disbanded in 2016 after the Indian Air Force started gradual phasing out of Russian-origin MIG-21 jets. It was formed in 1951 and initially flew de Havilland Vampire F Mk 52 fighters.
The squadron has been resurrected and will be the first unit to fly the multi-role Rafale fighter jets.
India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets for Rs 58,000 crore.
With IANS Inputs
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