News Desk: The first five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafales took off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, France, on Monday morning. The aircraft are likely to arrive at Air Force Station, Ambala, on July 29 subject to weather. In the meantime, No 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”, is being raised at this base equipped with Rafale aircraft.
This development comes nearly 4 years after India signed an agreement with France to procure 36 of the fighter aircraft under a Rs 59,000-crore deal.
These five Rafales include three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft.
The ferry of the aircraft is planned in two stages and will be undertaken by the pilots of the IAF. Air to Air Refuelling of the aircraft is planned during the first leg of the journey. The pilots have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft. The Rafale aircraft will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 km from France to India.
Meanwhile, the pilots will undertake the Air to Air Refuelling planned during the first leg of the ferry with dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force.
The Indian embassy in France tweeted:
Bon Voyage: Indian Ambassador to #France interacts with the Indian pilots of the Rafale. Congratulates and wishes them a safe flight to India with a single hop. #ResurgentIndia #NewIndia #Rafale@IAF_MCC @MeaIndia @rajnathsingh @Dassault_OnAir @DefenceMinIndia @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/jk3IWD9tYU
— India in France (@Indian_Embassy) July 27, 2020
Rafales are twin-engine fighter aircraft. These aircraft are capable of firing Meteor missiles to take out targets that are out of visual range. Equipped with SCALP missiles, a Rafale aircraft can take out on-ground targets 300 km away.