Three more Rafale jets arrive in India; total count reaches 21

Three more Rafale jets arrive in India; total count reaches 21

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 21 JULY: In a boost to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) combat capability, the sixth batch of three Rafale fighter jets landed in India this evening after flying non-stop from the Istres Air Base in France.

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The aircraft were provided mid-air refuelling by air force tankers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the IAF said.

“Three Rafale aircraft arrived in India a short while ago, after a direct ferry from Istres Air Base, France. IAF deeply appreciates the support by UAE Air Force for in-flight refuelling during the non-stop ferry,” the IAF said.

The first batch of five French-made multirole Rafale fighter jets had arrived in India on July 29 last year, almost four years after it signed the inter-governmental with France to purchase 36 jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

Following this, the second batch of three Rafale jets landed in India on November 3, 2020, and the third batch of another batch of three jets joined the IAF on January 27, 2021. The fourth batch of three jets arrived at Gujrat’s Jamnagar on 31 March, 2021. The fifth batch of four jets arrived in India on 22 April, 2021. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is likely to be completed by 2022-end.

With this, the count of Rafale jets reaches 21 as India already has 18 such flying planes with 17 Squadron based at Ambala airbase.

Rafale fighter capabilities

Twin-engine Rafale jets can carry out a range of missions like ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike deterrence. The weapons package of the Rafale jets comprises Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system.

These planes have given an edge to Indian planes over their Chinese and Pakistani rivals due to the long-range Meteor air to air missiles. The jets, which are India’s first major fighter plane acquisition since the Sukhoi planes, are also equipped with Hammer missiles, which enhanced the plane’s abilities to carry out air to ground mission like the Balakot airstrike.

Tags: #Rafale #IstresAirBase #IAF #UAEAirForce #IndianAirForce

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