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5 Rafale Jets to arrive India from France on Wednesday

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The first batch of five Rafale jets are about to arrive in India on Wednesday covering a distance of 7000kms from France. The much-anticipated fighter jets will finally join the Indian Air Force. The aircraft flew out from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux. The jets have air to air refuelling which will be done by dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force. The squadron has reached its only stop which is Al Dhafra airbase in UAE and will arrive its final destination Ambala airbase on July 29.

The fleet has three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft. They will be part of IAF’s no.17 squadron also known as “Golden Arrows”.

In September 2016 India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France. The deal worth Rs.59,000 crore was an emergency purchase made to strengthen the IAF’s combat capabilities. IAF pilots and personnel have been trained by Dassault to handle the aircraft and its weapon system.

“I am strongly impressed by the amazing efficiency and determination of the IAF and Indian Ministry of Defence, despite this unprecedented world health crisis, to master rapidly all aspects of the Rafale for comforting Indian sovereignty and contributing to the protection and security of Indian people,” the Dassault Aviation quoted its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric Trappier in a statement.

Rafale took off from France on Monday. The Indian embassy in France called the event a ” new milestone” in strengthening the India-France defence cooperation. “India and France have a long history of cooperation in fighter aircraft, which includes India’s acquisition of French Toofanis in 1953, then Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirages,” it said.

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Indian ambassador Jawed Ashraf saw off the Jets moreover he congratulated Indian pilots on being first ones to fly world’s most advance and potent fighter aircraft and conveyed his good wishes.

“These five Rafale jets are extremely swift, versatile and very deadly aircraft, they’re both beauty and beast. I would like to thank Dassault for delivering aircraft on time and French Government and French Air Force for all the support,” said ambassador Ashraf “You can call them (Rafale) both beauty and the beast,” he added.

France has accelerated the delivery of jets on special request and is now delivering five Rafales instead of four in the first batch. France handed first Rafale to India on October 8 last year in Merignac in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly. France is supposed to deliver 36 Rafales to India by 2021 according to the Indian mission in France.

 

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