“The Rafale fighter aircraft from the French Dassault Aviation are slated to arrive in India July end,” sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online.
The first batch of Rafale fighter jets from France will arrive in India by the last week of July. “The Rafale fighter aircraft from the French Dassault Aviation are slated to arrive in India July end,” sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online. Also, “according to earlier plans, four Rafale were arriving end of July but the government has been in touch with the French Company the Dassault Aviation to expedite the delivery of more fighters,” sources added. These French fighters will be based at the Ambala Air Force Station after they reach India.
In an earlier interaction with the Financial Express Online the Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had indicated that the fighters will be ferried to India by the end of July.
These aircraft can be easily integrated with the fighter fleets of the IAF and will help in enhancing the combat potential and deterrence value. The aircraft landing at the Ambala Air Force Station as per the earlier plans include three twin-seat and one single-seater. However, after receiving a request from India, the company is expected to send two more Rafale fighters. Total six out of 36 fighters will be reaching India end of July. The aircraft on their way from France will be fuelled by a French Air Force Tanker and the Russian IL-78. They will stopover in the UAE’s Al Dhafra air force base near Abu Dhabi. Plans are to send more, “however, this depends if they arrive end July or a bit later,” said the source quoted above.
On landing in India, July end, these aircraft will officially be operational by August and expected to join the IAF Day parade on October 8.
As has been reported earlier, the IAF pilots and ground staff have been undergoing extensive training in France and have had interactions with the French Navy and Air Force last year during a joint exercise.
The weapons on board
These aircraft are going to be equipped by the MBDA Scalp air to ground cruise missile with a range of 560+ km.
Also, Meteor missile which has the capacity to shoot down an enemy aircraft almost 100 km away. And this will be without crossing the airspace.
As is the norm, before the fighters arrive the weapons onboard have already reached India and are at the Ambala Base Storage Facility. They have completed all their safety certifications completed and ready. This means that when the aircraft arrive they will be in a deployable position.
The pilots and the crew will carry on with their training in India at Ambala Air Force Station and Hasimara which will be home to the second squadron the Rafale fighters.
The bases in Ambala and Hasimara as well as the Gwalior Air Force station which is home to the French Mirage 2000 will all be part of the integrated training for the pilots and the crew of Rafale.
The new French fighters will boost IAF’s air power in the Eastern and Western Borders.