Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 27
Three more newly procured Rafale fighter jets have taken off from France for India today, and would touch down at Ambala . With their arrival, the number of Rafales in IAF inventory will go up to 11.
Three more #Rafale jets take off from ???? for a non stop flight to ???? with mid air refueling by UAE MRTT; Adding more strength to ????’s air power.
— India in France (@Indian_Embassy) January 27, 2021
The aircraft will cover a distance of about 8,500 km from France to the home base of their unit, No. 17 Squadron, operating out of the country’s oldest airbase. UAE mid air refueling aircraft will provide enroute support.
The first batch of five Rafales had arrived in India from France on July 29, 2020, after making an overnight halt in UAE. They were formally inducted into the IAF in September. The next batch of three aircraft had arrived in November after flying non-stop from France in about eight hours.
Since their induction, the Rafales have been fully operational and are undertaking various missions, including flying in Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese armies have been engaged in a close confrontation along the Line of Actual Control for the past about 10 months.
The IAF is procuring a total of 36 Rafale multi-role aircraft, equipping two squadrons, with the second one to be based in the east. Recently, the IAF said that Rafale could be a contender for the IAF’s planned acquisition of 114 fighter aircraft.