A batch of three Dassault Rafale jets have landed in New Delhi on Friday. The aircraft had taken off from Mérignac Air Base located west of Bordeaux in southern France and undertook a journey of around 8,000 km to reach their destination.
The Indian Air Force, on Friday, received their sixth batch of Dassault Rafale multirole jets from France, reported ANI. These aircraft will soon be dispatched to Hasimara Air Force Base in West Bengal to be a part of 101 Squadron ‘Falcons’ of the Indian Air Force.
India had ordered 36 off-the-shelf Rafale jets from the French aeronautical manufacturer, Dassault, under a government-to-government agreement. Including the earlier batch of four aircraft received on April 22, the Indian Air Force has received 24 of the ordered 36 aircraft.
With a watchful eye on both Pakistan and China, these aircraft will be based in Ambala on the western sector and Hasimara on the eastern sector. Two erstwhile MiG-21 squadrons – the 101 Squadron ‘Falcons’ (Hasimara) and 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ (Ambala) – have been resurrected for these new cutting-edge flying beasts.
Rafale’s arrival is being viewed as a significant capability boost for the IAF. Ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike deterrent are among the roles that the twin-engine Rafale planes can perform. The Rafales being equipped with long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles are considered to have a sizeable advantage over Chinese PLA Air Force and Pakistan Air Force fighter jets. These jets will also enhance India’s ability to carry out air-to-ground operations like the one in Balakot thanks to the Hammer missiles with which the jets come equipped.
In addition to India and France, these 4.5 generation aircraft are also being used by the air forces of Egypt and Qatar, and on orders from Greece, Croatia, and potentially Indonesia. According to several reports, the Indian Navy too is a potential buyer of the Rafale M or the Aircraft Carrier version of the aircraft for its future aircraft carriers.