Wednesday 12 August 2020, 06:24 AM
Rafales land on Indian soil to add punch to Indian Air Force
By Jyoti Verma | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 7/29/2020 4:24:21 PM
Rafales land on Indian soil to add punch to Indian Air Force
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Air Marshal B Suresh and Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Ambala along with the pilots of the first Rafale aircraft that had arrived at Air Force Station Ambala on Jul 29, 2020.

Ambala: The first batch of five Rafale fighters have landed at the Ambala airbase. Remaining 31 aircraft will be delivered by the French manufacturer Dassault by the end of next year. The first batch was given a ceremonial welcome by showering water and was received by Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadouria.

Two twin seater trainer Rafales bear the initials RK to honor Bhadouria. Remaining 3 single seaters bear the initials of former IAF Chief B S Dhanoa as BS. Both these officers were instrumental in signing the deal.The cost of the deal is Rs 59,000 crores and an agreement was signed between India and France in 2016.

The 5 Rafale fighter jets had entered Indian airspace at about 1.30pm and were greeted by Indian Navy's warship INS Kolkata, deployed in the Arabian Sea. The Rafales were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space.

The Rafales reached Ambala, their home base, at around 3.10 pm. The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, will be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’. However, a formal induction ceremony will be held around mid-August which is expected to be attended by the Defence Minister and top military brass of the country. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons.

“The Birds have landed safely in Ambala,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted. Rajnath Singh said “the touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our military history. These multi role aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the IAF“.

The jets took off from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on Monday and arrived here after covering a distance of 8500 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.

The ferry was planned in two stages and was undertaken by IAF pilots. The aircraft covered the distance from France to India in two stages. First stage of the flight covered a distance of 5800 km in seven and a half hours.  French Air Force (FAF) Tanker provided dedicated Air-to-Air Refuelling support during the flight. The second stage of the flight covering over 2700 km was carried out with Air-to-Air Refuelling by IAF Tanker.

With a combat range of 780-km to 1,650-km depending on mission, the Rafales are armed with 'Meteor' air-to-air missiles (120-150 km strike range), 'Scalp' air-to-ground cruise missiles (over 300 km) and other armaments.

The Meteor missiles are arguably the best in the world for air combat duels, with “a greater no-escape zone” for hostile fighters than any comparable BVR (beyond visual range) weapon. Pakistan and China do not currently have any missiles of this class in their combat inventories.

Tags:

Rafale Aircraft,Merignac air base,Ambala air base,French port city of Bordeaux,Al Dhafra air base in UAE,

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