The first batch of five Rafale jets have flown out of France today and will arrive in India on Wednesday, July 29.
Taking to Twitter, Indian Embassy in France wrote: "The new Rafales add strategic depth and strength to India’s air combat capabilities. They fly out of France today to join the growing Indian fleet of aircrafts."
According to news agency ANI, five Rafale jets will take off from France today to join the Indian Air Force fleet in Ambala in Haryana on July 29th. The aircraft will be refuelled by French Air Force tanker aircraft on their way to an airbase in the UAE before leaving for India.
The Indian ambassador to France interacted with the Indian pilots before they took off from France. "Bon Voyage: Indian Ambassador to #France interacts with the Indian pilots of the Rafale. Congratulates and wishes them a safe flight to India with a single hop," the Indian embassy in France tweeted.
The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets is likely to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on July 29, according to an official statement released on July 20. It said the final induction ceremony will take place in second half of August, reported PTI.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA''s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets
Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
It is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives it far more engine power for much longer than any other missile.
Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others. The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft