New Delhi:The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets arrived at Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana on Wednesday.
In the morning, these jets left Al Dhafra airbase in UAE after having a stopover for a day after covering 7 hours flying from Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on Monday.
The jets were seen being re-fuelled mid-air from a French Air Force tanker and the pictures taken at 30,000 feet. The Indian Embassy in France posted the pictures on Twitter on Tuesday.
"Indian Air Force appreciates the support provided by French Air Force for our Rafale journey back home," the Indian Air Force said in a tweet on Tuesday.These five jets include 3 single-seater and 2 twin-seater aircraft.
In 2016, India had inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal to buy 36 Rafale aircraft from French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation.These aircraft will be inducted into the IAF as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the 'Golden Arrows'.
The formal induction ceremony will be held around mid-August which is expected to be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top military brass of the country.The first Rafale jet was handed over to the IAF in October last year during a visit to France by Defence Minister Mr Singh.
While the first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at Ambala airbase, the second one will be based at Hasimara in West Bengal.The Ambala base is considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from it.
Currently, the base has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MiG-21 Bison.Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers.The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.(UNI)