Countdown begins for Rafale! India gets ready to receive the French fighter jets

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Updated: Jul 27, 2020 11:41 AM

Usually, the time taken to deploy new fighters takes around six months, these aircraft are arriving in the midst of ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control between India and China and the fighter, machines will be deployed within a week.

Rafale jets in India, rafale jets aircraft,Indian Air Force, Merignac, IAF operations, Line of Actual Control, MBDA, defence news, latest news on Rafale jetsThese aircraft are expected to arrive in India later this week.

Rafale jets in India: The wait is over! Indian Air Force (IAF) is getting ready to receive and finally induct five Rafale fighter aircraft which took off from Merignac in France today. These aircraft are expected to arrive in India later this week. Confirming this IAF has said that “These aircraft are landing on July 29, and the focus is on integrating the pilots and the machine with the overall IAF operations at the earliest.” Usually, the time taken to deploy new fighters takes around six months, these aircraft are arriving in the midst of ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control between India and China and the fighter, machines will be deployed within a week.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, in the first round 12 IAF pilots have undergone intense training in France, and since last September they have been training on the trainers which were handed over to the defence minister Rajnath Singh at a ceremony in that country.

Overall, as per the contract between the two countries, India has ordered 36 `Rafale’ from Dassault Aviation and the same number of pilots have to undergo training as well as the ground staff. And on return to India, they will continue training at the Gwalior Air Force Station, home to the French Mirage 2000.

There is still no clarity on the number of fighters landing on Wednesday, July 29. The number could either be five or six. And, after this initial delivery, as per the contract the French Company is expected to deliver 12 aircraft every year. So far the company has handed over nine fighter jets to India which is in different stages of testing before they land here in India.

Flight Plan

Financial Express Online had recently reported that the aircraft will take off from the production facility of Dassault Aviation located in Merignac, France.

For the night halt they will take a break at the French airbase in Al Dhafra, located near Abu Dhabi in UAW.

For the ten hour-long flight, there will be two mid-air refuellers to refuel the fighter jets twice during the journey and they will be from the French Air Force.

The pilots ferrying the aircraft are from the IAF and they have undergone specialized training for the mid-air refuelling process through Airbus 330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft which is in use with the French Air Force.

These aircraft will then next day will head to India and straight to IAF’s 17 Squadron `Golden Arrows’ based at the Ambala Air Force Station. This Squadron will be the home for the first Squadron of the French Rafale.

Weapons onboard

In view of the tensions with China, India had reached out to France to expedite the delivery of the fighters and the weapons on board.

Meteor air to air missile from the European MBDA has already reached Ambala. This missile is ram jet-powered air to air missile and has a very long-range rocket.

Costing approximately Rs 20 crore each, these missiles have a range of about 150 km and have the capability of attacking an enemy aircraft and that too without leaving Indian airspace.

Other missile coming with Rafale is `Scalp’ which weighs around 1,300 kg and is 5.1 metre-long. And has a 600 km range manufactured by MBDA and is known for precision.

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