Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Three more Rafale aircraft are headed towards India

Three more Rafale omnirole fighter jets, bought by India under a controversial ₹59,000 crore deal, are headed to India from the Merignac-Bordeaux airbase in France. By late Wednesday evening they are likely to land in Jamnagar airbase, from where they will fly to the Indian Airforce (IAF)’s Ambala air force station. Subsequently, they will be repurposed to the Hashimara airbase in north Bengal.

“Next batch of three #Rafales leave from France to India today; wished the pilots smooth flight and safe landing,” said the Twitter handle of the Indian Embassy in France.

“The aircraft will be refueled en-route by India’s strategic ally United Arab Emirates using Airbus 330 multi-role transport tankers over middleeast skies,” it added.

The first Rafale squadron is based in Ambala air force station. The Indian Air Force is set to raise the second squadron of the Rafale combat jets in Hasimara air base, according to media reports.

Today’s arrival marks the sixth ferry of Rafale jets from France to India.  The three aircraft will take the total number of Rafales in Ambala to 20. Four more are set to join them in a fortnight. According to media reports, the COVID crisis has made the procurement more tedious, with the IAF pilots having to undergo rigorous quarantining in France before they returning home.

Dassault is scheduled to deliver all the 36 Rafales by the second half of 2021. The jets are stated to be capable of carrying a range of weapons.

05/05/21 The Federal

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