The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets entered the Indian Air Space today afternoon. They landed at the IAF Air Force Station Ambala. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s office told PTI that the Rafales were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria received the fleet. These five fighter aircraft which were being flown by Indian Air Force Pilots came in today after covering a distance of 7000 kilometres, with air to air refuelling and only stop at United Arab Emirates (UAE). These aircrafts are likely to be inducted into the Indian Air Force after mid-August and a ceremony will take place. The IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft. This includes its highly advanced weapons systems, which are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest, IAF had stated.
A Security Blanket can be seen around the Indian Air Force Station by Indian Police so as to ensure proper safety. Safety is also maintained for the prohibition of photography and videography of these rafale planes. In addition to this, security has been tightened by the implementation of Section 144. This has been enforced in villages around Indian Airforce Station, Ambala.
After the five rafale planes landed, Rajnath Singh took to twitter to express himself on the landing and arrival of these planes. In a thread of tweets, he took to the internet about the safe landing of these fighter planes. His tweets are linked below.
India had bought 36 twin-engine fighter planes from Dassault Rafale. The Rafales were bought for an estimated Rs 58,000 crore, through an inter-government agreement signed in 2016. The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades. They are expected to significantly boost the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities. More than four years after it inked the deal to acquire Rafale jets, India received the first batch on Wednesday at the IAF Air Force Station in Ambala.