The first five of a batch of French Rafale fighter jets purchased by New Delhi in a controversial multibillion-dollar deal are flying out of France towards India for rapid deployment amid rising tensions with China.
As per an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 2016, India bought 36 twin-engine fighter planes built by French aviation firm Dassault for an estimated worth of Rs 59,000 crore.
How many jets are coming?
As per the statement of the Indian Embassy in France, 10 aircraft have been already been delivered. The first batch of 5 aircraft took off from the Merignac airbase near Bordeaux in France which was flown by Indian Air Force pilots.
The other five aircraft remain in France for the training mission.IAF batches will continue to be trained in France for the next nine months and have been scheduled by the end of 2021 where all the 36 aircraft will deliver.
When and where they will arrive?
While a distance of 7000km can be covered within a day, with the air-to-air refuelling, it has been planned that the jets will make a stop in the United Arab Emirates and will take off from there for Ambala on Wednesday morning.
Does all the jets are the same?
No all the jets are the same, they have some single-seater and some of them have double-seater. The single-seater aircraft have the initials of retired Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and the twin-seater aeroplanes have the current Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria’s initials played a significant role in negotiating the deal.
What happened when Rafale reach India?
The first jets will comprise the resurrected No 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the Air Force, at Air Force Station Ambala on Wednesday, subject to weather. The final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August as per IAF.
The IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems, which are fully operational now. The ferry-in of fighters as well as the move of support crew must be completed safely and swiftly.
How much capable the Rafale is?
Rafale has the Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile and capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons.
Rafale comes up with various India-specific modifications, such as Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems, and lots of features which enhance the air defense system.
“You can call them (Rafale) both beauty and the beast,” said Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf who interacted with the IAF pilots at the Merignac airbase before they set off for India.
Article written by SOMANATH SAHU
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