The IAF did not reveal the number of aircraft that landed in India but people familiar with the development said four jets were part of the new batch.
The IAF said the refueling of air fuel to the fleet was being provided by the air the forces of France and the United Arab Emirates (United Arab Emirates).
“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 8,000 km supported by air-to-air refueling by @Armee_de_lair and UAE AF. IAF thanks both Air Force and Air Forces for their cooperation, “he said in a tweet.
After a direct ferry from #MerignacAirBase, France, the 5th batch of Rafales arrived in India on 21 April. The fourteen… https://t.co/gb9DPDUzBJ
– Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) 1619025100000
Earlier, the plane was flagged off the Merignac airbase in France by Air Chief of Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who is visiting France.
The head of the IAF also visited Rafale’s aviation training center on the third day of his five-day visit to the European country.
“Air Chief Mshl RKS Bhadauria is on an official flight to France cheating 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 esp FASF and the French Industry for their timely introduction of FASF and pilot training on schedule despite covid, “India’s embassy in France wrote on Twitter.
In his brief remarks, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said some of Rafale’s aircraft had been transported “a little” ahead of time and has contributed to the overall combat potential of the IAF.
Prior to his visit, military officials in Delhi said that Chief Marshal Bhadauria’s trip to France was expected to boost cooperation between the IAF and the French Air and Space Force (FASF).
“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 of the training we were they were able to operate the aircraft quickly, “he said.
The head of the IAF also thanked the French government and the French air force for providing the necessary support for the training program as well as for ferrying the aircraft to India.
The arrival of the new batch of aircraft will pave the way for the IAF to build a second squadron of Rafale jets. The new squadron will be based at Hasimara air base in Aberystwyth 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.
With the arrival of the new batch, the number of Rafale jets with the IAF has increased to 18.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29 last year.
On Tuesday, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria held talks with General Philippe Lavigne, Chief of Staff of the FASF, on ways to further expand cooperation between the two sides.