The first batch of five Rafales is have arrived in India. The pictures have come out of the mid-air refueling of this aircraft at a height of 30,000 feet. These jets have traveled from the Merignac airbase in the French port city of Bordeaux to India after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km.
The Indian Embassy in France tweeted, “Few shots from 30,000 feet! Mid-air refueling of #RafaleJets on their way to #India.”
It has three single seats and two twin seats and arrived at Ambala airbase on Wednesday. These aircraft are likely to suggestively increase the IAF’s combat proficiencies at a time when India has some severe tensions on the border with China.
On September 23, 2016, India had signed the Rs 59,000 crore deal to obtain 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation. The first Rafale jet was handed over to the IAF in October last year during a visit to France by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Official sources said the Rafale jets are expected to be deployed in the Ladakh sector as part of IAF’s efforts to improve its functioning capabilities along Line of Actual Control with China in view of the border row with the country.
The aircraft can carry 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. This weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
The Meteor is motorized by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that proved it far more engine power for much longer than any other missile, according to an official.
The second squadron of Rafale might get stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to advance required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases
Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
Many say this is a big triumph for India in Defence.