The first batch for Rafales fighter jets from France has taken off to the skies to join the Indian Air Force on Monday, the Indian mission in France confirms.
The fighter jets, extremely capable of what it is made for, will reach Indian on Wednesday, 29th July, and the jets will be officially introduced in the Indan Air Force fleet in Ambala, Haryana.
After taking off, the five fighter jets will be refueled mid-air by the French Air Force Tanker aircraft before it reaches the station in UAE, from where they’ll finally start for India.
The five aircraft heading for Indian is the first batch of the India-France intragovernmental tranche of the 36 planes, worth a whopping 59,000 crores, dealt in 2016, NDTV reports.
12 Indian Air Force pilots and engineering crew have been fully trained to operate the high-profile fighter jets.
Indian Embassy on France greeted the Indian pilots before they took off from the French airbase: “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.”
What will be the fighters jets capable of?
Rafale jets, made in France, will add to the edge of the Indian Air Force. The five jets – three twin-seater and two single-seater will be armed with deadly capabilities including electronic warfare powers, according to TOI.
The jets will have a combat range of 780-km to 1,650-km as per the mission and will come fitted with next-gen BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) air-to-air.
The jets will be reportedly modified per the Indian standards including Israel-made helmet mount displays, radar enhancements, ‘cold start’ ability from high-altitude regions, low band jammers, infrared tracking systems among others.
India and France have a history of bilateral engagement in warfare exchange. Previously India acquired French Toofanis fighter jets in 1953 among others like Mrages and Jaguars.
The Indian Embassy in France, in a statement, said that as goodwill and a friendship gesture, France will send an aircraft with medical equipment and health care experts in India on July 26th to support India’s battle against COVID-19 Pandemic.
(Cover image courtesy of ANI)