India has a long history of flying fighter jets from France including the French Toofanis in 1953, the Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirage - 2000s.
A momentous day for the Indian Air Force. First of the five out of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft took off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, France, on July 27, 2020. These five include three single-seater and two twin-seater fighters which are being ferried by the pilots of the IAF who have undergone intensive training on these aircraft in France. According to the IAF in New Delhi, the ferrying of these fighter aircraft is going to be in two stages. During the first leg of the ferrying air to air, refuelling has been planned and these tankers are from the French Air Force.
If weather permits, these five fighters will be heading straight to Air Force Station, Ambala, on July 29 and will join Squadron 17 the “Golden Arrows”, which has been raised at this airbase.
These five fighters will be covering around a distance of almost 7000 km – the distance from France to India with one stopover in Abu Dhabi, UAE. And this is possible due to the air-to-air refuelling by the tankers from the French Air Force.
It may be recalled that last October, the first Rafale was handed over to Indian defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a ceremony in Paris which was also attended by the French Minister for Armed Forces Madame Florence Parly.
So far the delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule. This means that out of 36 which were ordered – ten have been delivered. Five are on their way to India and the other five are going to be used for a training mission in France for the pilots undergoing training there. As per the contract the delivery of all the 36 aircraft is scheduled for the end of 2021.
India-France Defence Cooperation
These fighters from France are going to add more air power to the Indian Air Force and have deepened the Indo-French Defence Cooperation.
As per the contract that has been inked between the two governments, the pilots and all the supporting crew has been provided full training on the aircraft and the weapon system by Dassault Aviation.
The training has been going on in batches and the training goes on in the facility of Dassault Aviation.
Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf saw off the fighters take off for the Indian skies.
Congratulating the IAF pilots for becoming the first to fly the Rafale fighters, the Indian envoy said “These long-awaited aircraft are going to add more strength to the IAF and the defence capabilities of India.”
India has a long history of flying fighter jets from France including the French Toofanis in 1953, the Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirage – 2000s.
The Indian envoy Jawed Ashraf while seeing off the Indian pilots also thanked the French Air Force, Éric Trappier, Chairman Dassault Aviation and Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, the Air Attaché to France.