Finally, after 4-years of Rafale deal, the first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft flew out of France on Monday which will reach the Ambala Air Force Station in India on 29th July 2020. At the Indian Air Force Fleet of Ambala, Haryana, the aircraft will officially be inducted and will join Indian Air Force.
In September 2016, the Defense Ministry of India endorsed a direct deal with the French government to purchase 36 new multirole fighter aircraft under a 7.87 Billion Euros (59,000 Crore) Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA). The first tranche of Fighter jets includes five planes built by French Aviation Company, Dassault. Twelve Indian Air Force(IAF) pilots and engineering crew members are completely trained on the Rafale fighter jets.
The fighter jets will be covering about 7,364 km distance from France to India with a single stop at the French Airbase named Al Dhafra airbase in UAE (United Arab Emirates) for refueling. The Rafale jets will be flown by Indian Air Force pilots.
The Indian Embassy in France has shared a series of videos of the fighter jets and termed this deal between India and France as “a new milestone in India-France Defence Cooperation”
“Delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty-six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021,” the Indian embassy in France said in a statement.
The IAF is already prepared, including the required infrastructure and training of pilots for welcoming the fighter aircraft. The IAF has spent around 400 crores to build all required infrastructure like shelters, hangers, and maintenance facilities at the two Airbases. Six jets will be for training purposes and the other 30 will be fighter jets.
The Rafale jets will have the capability of carrying a range of potent weapons, including European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SCALP, air-to-ground cruise missile. The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft that can fly at the speed of 2222.6 km per hour and can climb to a height of 50,000 feet with the range of 3700 km which can be increased with mid-air refueling.
The Rafale jets are going to be modified consistent with the India-specific changes, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.