On Monday morning (July 27), the fighter aircraft had taken off from the Merignac air base in the French port city of Bordeaux and flying for almost seven hours nonstop with the help of the refuellers covered a distance of 7000 km and landed late evening at Al Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates.
On Wednesday at around 3 pm, five French fighter landed in the Ambala Air Force Base jets after covering almost 7000 km where they were received by the IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. On Monday morning (July 27), the fighter aircraft had taken off from the Merignac air base in the French port city of Bordeaux and flying for almost seven hours nonstop with the help of the refuellers covered a distance of 7000 km and landed late evening at Al Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates.
After a much needed and carrying out all checks, they took off from the Al Dharfa airbase towards India. Though the distance between India and UAE is not big, the fighter jets had to maintain a certain speed to keep up with the refuellers.
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What has arrived?
On Wednesday (July 28) five fighter jets — three single-seater and two twin-seater have arrived at the Ambala Air Force Base, where they will be joining the No 17 Squadron, `Golden Arrows’.
These Rafale fighters are designed for the air superiority role as it can carry a mix of accurate weapons.
With a high thrust to weight ratio which is coupled with relaxed static stability and canards which help in ensuring high manoeuvrability.
Because of this there are better chances of survival in a hostile environment.
Onboard there are sensors which can detect any hostile action by any weapon system in the world; it also has the capability of lifting almost 9500 kg of external loads in different roles.
Also, it has low RCS and is the only other fighter to have successfully challenged the US F22, to date.
The aircraft has a small size with two engines which deliver 7.5KN of thrust each. It has the capacity to support 11 external stations of which three are wet and can carry up to three 2000 litres tanks on each of these wet points.
It comes with AESA radar with the ranges of over 350 km and has look down shoot down capability.
It supports an integrated EW system which caters to all the present-day EW threats.
The fighter jet can carry up to six AAMs and six specialists’ bombs.
There are state of the art Meteor missile and Scalp Missile. Based on the Indian specifications, apparently these fighters can also launch the Indo-Russian BrahMos missiles.
The aircraft also has air to air refuelling capabilities, which means it can refuel another aircraft in buddy mode.
India has placed an order for two Squadrons – 36 fighter jets from Dassault Aviation, the deliveries are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
These aircraft are going to be the game-changer for the IAF.
The crew is kept away from the media
The aircraft and the crew has been kept away from the media and according to the Indian Air Force (IAF) the official induction of these machines will be sometime around August 20, 2020.
The IAF crew flew these fighters all the way from France and they have undergone intensive training on the aircraft, highly advanced weapons systems, which are all fully operational.
Now that these machines have reached India, these aircraft need to be integrated into the IAF and the focus is on operationalising them soonest.
According to Gp Capt Sundeep Mehta (retd). “The French Rafale is the most celebrated military acquisition in recent time. These most modern 4th generation aircraft are capable of carrying out a mix of armament and can deliver them accurately and yet ensure its own survivability with onboard systems itself. These aircraft will fill the gap in the IAF which has been created due to the declining Squadron strength.”