Three Rafale aircraft reached India on Thursday after flying non-stop from France, the Indian Air Force official said on Wednesday, 27 January. The three new additions will add to the current fleet of eight Rafale jets.
“IAF deeply appreciates the tanker support provided by UAE Air Force,” the IAF wrote on Twitter.
The three Rafale combat aircraft, manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation, took off from Istres in France on Wednesday.
The Indian Embassy in France had tweeted earlier in the day that three more Rafale jets have taken off from Istres for a non-stop flight to India with mid-air refuelling.
“Adding more strength to India’s air power. Wishing our amazing pilots a smooth flight and safe landing with superb fighter jets,” the Indian Embassy said.
11 Rafale Jets in Total
With three more aircraft, the IAF will now have 11 Rafale jets in service. Further, Indian Air Force pilots are being trained in batches at the Saint-Dizier air base in France, IANS reported.
India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on 29 July 2020, which were inducted into the 17 'Golden Arrows' Squadron on 10 September at the Ambala Air Base.
The second batch of three Rafale combat aircraft arrived in India on 4 November 2020 after flying non-stop from France.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.
The fighter jet has HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing its ability to take on incoming targets from a distance, IANS reported.
(With inputs from IANS.)