Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Ambala is all set to receive three for French fighter jets from France today. Three Rafale from Dassault Aviation are flying in directly from France with the help of mid air refuellers which have been provided by the UAE as well as France. The fighters which will first land in Gujarat late Wednesday will then head to the Golden Arrows Squadron in Ambala, thus taking the number of the Rafale fighters in the Squadron to 14. Typically a squadron comprises around 18 aircraft and two as standby.
As has been reported earlier in Financial Express Online, the first batch of these fighters landed in India on July 29, 2020, amidst much fanfare. This was then followed by another three arriving in November 2020, and the third batch with three jets came in earlier this year in January.
“The delivery of these fighter jets is being made based on the contractual agreement between the two sides,” according to sources. And by 2022, all the 36 fighter aircraft will be in India.
When more are expected?
According to sources, more fighter aircraft will be flying in directly from France in the next few months and these deliveries are progressing as per the schedule.
In April at least nine more are expected and out of these five will head towards the Main operating Base at Hashimara, West Bengal.
More about these fighters
These French origin aircraft are coming from Dassault Aviation.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in response to a question, told the Parliament that the full delivery of the 36 jets will be completed by 2022.
In September 2016, India had signed an inter-governmental deal with France to buy 36 of these fighters at a cost of Rs 59,000 crores. These fighters are the first major purchase made by India in 23 years. The last time fighters were procured was from Russia – SU-30.
What is onboard these jets?
These fighters have the capability to carry a range of potent weapons.
European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM); Scalp Cruise Missile and MICA weapons system are the mainstay of the weapons package which are onboard these fighters.
The IAF is also in the process of buying a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range). This will be integrated in the fighters.
What is Hammer? Developed by French major Safran is a precision-guided missile, which was originally meant for the French Air Force and the Navy.
The aircraft will also have Meteor, which is the next generation of BVRAAM designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat.
This has been developed by MBDA and is meant to combat common threats which are facing countries like the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.