Ambala (Haryana) [India], July 29 (ANI): The five French Rafale fighter jets touched down at Haryana’s Ambala after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force.
The jets were given a customary water salute upon their arrival at the airbase, some 220-km from the India-Pakistan border.
The formal induction ceremony of the aircraft would be held later. The aircraft would move out soon to another operational base for operational sorties.
After taking off from France on Monday, the aircraft made their first stopover at a French base in the United Arab Emirates on their way to India and were refuelled by the French Air Force tanker aircraft somewhere around Greece or Israel over the sea before landing there.
The five were flown by pilots of the 17 Golden Arrows led by Commanding Officer Group Captain Harkirat Singh along with other pilots, Wing Commanders MK Singh, R Kataria, Sidhu and Arun.
The five Rafale fighter aircraft took off on Monday for India from an airbase in France. The weather in Ambala was cloudy with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers being forecasted.
India had signed a Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 for 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
In view of Rafale fighter jets landing in the city on Wednesday, Section 144 is being imposed in four villages close to Ambala airbase. Munish Sehgal, DSP Traffic, Ambala, said the administration is on a high alert and the gathering of people on roofs and photography during landing has been strictly prohibited.
The five Rafale fighter jets had entered the Indian Airspace earlier in the day. “The Birds have entered the Indian airspace..Happy Landing in Ambala!” tweeted the Defence Minister’s Office earlier on Wednesday.
The Defence Minister’s Office further informed that the five Rafales were escorted by 02 SU30 MKIs as they enter the Indian airspace.
Here are the key Highlights of Rafale:
It’s an Omni role aircraft. 4th Generation Fighter Jet. It’s a two-engine aircraft. It’s top speed is 2,222 Km/Hr. It can go up to 50,000 Ft. It’s Rate of Climb is 60,000 Ft/Min. It’s Operational Range is 3,700 Km. Ground Support. In-depth Strike. Anti-Ship Strike Reach and combat radius is 1600-1700 Kms. Capable for Long Range standoff Mission. Equipped with Air-to-Ground Missile System. Specifically designed to take off from an extremely cold high altitude region. It will also be fitted with the air-to-air beyond visual range interception combat and self-defence missile. It can also carry the best long range air-to-land missile. It has multi-directional radar system which can detect 40 targets at the same time in a range of over 100 Kms. It has advance radar warning receiver to identify hostile tracking system a towed decoy system to thwart incoming missile attacks. Rafale will ensure that our pilots will not have to cross the border to strike the target, that is about 600 Km in enemy territory. It will get French industrial support for 50 years.