The fifth batch of Rafale fighter jets arrived in India from a military air base in France today. The jets were highlighted by the Air Chief of the Air Staff Chief, Marshal RKS Bhadauria of Merignac Air Base in the middle of his ongoing five-day official visit to France.
The fighter jets flew a distance of nearly 8,000 km non-stop with the support of air-to-air refueling from France and the UAE Air Force.
“After a direct ferry from #MerignacAirBase, France, the 5th batch of Rafales arrived in India on April 21. The fighters flew a distance of nearly 8,000Kms supported by air-to-air refueling by @Armee_de_lair (French Air Force) and UAE. AF. IAF thanks the Air Forces for their cooperation, “the Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted today, along with the video of Rafale jets landing in India.
After direct ferry from #MerignacAirBase, France, reached the 5th batch of Rafales India on 21 April. The fighters flew a distance of nearly 8,000Kms supported by air-to-air refueling by @Armee_de_lair and United Arab Emirates AF. IAF thanks the Air Forces for their cooperation. pic.twitter.com/jp81vODCp2
– Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 21, 2021
The Indian embassy and the Air Force did not mention the number of aircraft flown from the IAF Commander.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29 last year.
Earlier in the day, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria visited Rafale’s aircraft training facility on the third day of his five-day visit to France. He also thanked the French aerospace industry for ensuring timely delivery of the jets.
“Air Chief Mshl RKS Bhadauria on an official trip to France cheats pilots and sees the next batch of Rafales on a non-stop flight to India with a refueling with mid air from the French Air Force and UAE. to France especially FASF and the French Industry for their timely delivery, and pilot training on schedule despite COVID, “the Indian embassy in France tweeted.
The Head of the IAF said some of Rafale’s aircraft had been “flown” ahead of time and had contributed to the overall combat potential of the Air Force.
“This ferry, which is the fifth from here, marks the end of the third batch of our pilots and all of our maintenance crew. Rafale training center has provided world class training and because of the level and quality the training we were able to operate the aircraft quickly, “he said, according to news agency PTI.
The arrival of the new batch of aircraft will pave the way for the IAF to raise Rafale’s second squadron. The new squadron will be based at Hasimara air base in West Bengal. Rafale’s first squadron is stationed at Ambala air force station. A squadron consists of about 18 aircraft.
India had signed an intergovernmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. To date, there are 14 Rafale jets operating in the Indian Air Force.