The second batch of the Indian Air Force’s three Rafale fighter jets will arrive by Wednesday evening.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the three Rafale fighter jets will arrive at the Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat directly from France on Wednesday. The aircraft are set to take off from France on Wednesday morning and would arrive in India in the evening itself, government sources told news agency ANI.
The first batch of five Rafales flew into India on July 28 and was officially inducted on September 10 by the Narendra Modi government. With the induction of these aircraft, the IAF would have eight fighter aircraft which will be operationalised within a few days.
After the induction of the aircraft, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Rafale deal is a game changer. "I am confident our air force has acquired a technological edge with Rafale," the minister had pointed out.
The Rafale fighters have already been operationalised and have also been deployed in the conflict zone of Ladakh in the short duration of time they have been with the Air Force. A total of 36 of these aircraft would reach India by mid-2022 under an Rs 59,000 crore deal signed in 2016 by the NDA government.
The Rafale fighters have significantly enhanced the offensive capabilities of the IAF. The Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie. The fighter aircraft has HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.