Five Rafale fighter jets have landed in Ambala today, making it the first batch of flights to land home, from a deal of 36 Rafale fighter jets. A deal worth Rs. 59,000 crores was initially made with France in September 2016, for the acquisition of these jets.
The Indian Air Force had given a warm and fantastic welcome to these 5 fighter jets, “Welcome to the Indian Ocean… May you touch the sky with glory,” the Naval warship was heard telling a Rafale commander in an audio.
Furthermore, three of these are single seaters, and two are twin seaters, these will now be a part of No. 17 Squadron of the Air Force, commonly known as the “Golden Arrows”.
Thorough security was observed when the jets were entering India, and when they were located at 200 KM from the border with Pakistan. Citizens of the surrounding areas of Ambala had also been strictly ordered to neither film the landing of the aircrafts, nor to gather in crowds on the rooftops.
These jets were piloted by IAF officers, and took off from Southwest France, and travelled nearly 7000 KM before they could join the Indian Air Force, here in India. One Rafale jet was delivered to the Indian Air Force in October last year, and the rest of the contingent is expected to be delivered by 2022. Pilots of the jets stayed back in France to be trained in the operation and flying of these jets.
With the Rafale jets now being in the possession of the IAF, it is evident that India is powering up, with tensions rising at the India-China borders. The acquisition of Rafale jets is indeed a huge military move for the Indian Military and IAF on a whole.