The first batch of Five Rafale fighter jets just landed at the Ambala air base after a long 7,000 kilometers ride from France. The aircraft escorted by two Sukhois were welcomed by Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria who was present at the air base. Security has been beefed up in the villages adjoining the Ambala air base with Section 144 imposed which prohibits the assembly of four or more. Welcoming the jets, Defence Minister Rajnath in a series of tweets said that India can deter any threat now. He added that Rafale jets were bought only when they met the operational requirements of IAF.
Check out all the latest updates on the Rafale fighter aircraft arrival in India on BusinessToday.In live blog
3.44 pm: Rafale in India updates
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweets video of Rafale touchdown at Ambala air base.
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
3.40 pm: Rajnath Singh slams Congress
Defence Minister hails PM Modi for Rafale deal, says all charges answered and settled.
3.35 pm: Congress takes credit: welcomes arrival of Rafale jets
The party says UPA govt identified Rafale. Cries cam in BJP Rafale deal in tweets.
The Congress Rafale purchase would have ensured India receives 126 jets instead of BJP's 36.— Congress (@INCIndia) July 29, 2020
108 Rafale jets would have been Made in India.
India would have received the Rafale jets by approx 2016
Cost of each Rafale jet would have been Rs. 526 crore.
We congratulate the Indian Air Force on receiving the Rafale jets.— Congress (@INCIndia) July 29, 2020
INC govt's labour in identifying & purchasing Rafale in 2012 have finally borne fruit.
The stark difference between the Congress & BJP deal reveal the BJP's scam:
3.28 pm: Air chief Marshal receives Rafale Jets at Ambala air base.
3.21 pm: Rajnath Singh welcomes Rafale fighter jets home
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a series of tweets welcomed Rafale jets home saying that India can deter any threat now.
I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
3.15 pm: Breaking news: India welcomes Rafales
Rafale jets touch down at Ambala air base.
3.11 pm: Rafale jets in India
The first squadron of the fighter jets will be stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station, as it is one of the most strategically located bases of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The India-Pakistan border is nearly 220 km from there. Meanwhile, the second squadron of Rafale will be deployed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
3.06 pm: The wait is over, Rafale jets to land at Ambala air base anytime now
2.56 pm: Breaking news: Five Rafale jets have crossed Agra and are slated to land at Ambala air base at around 3 pm
The jets entered the Indian airspace some time ago.
2.41 pm: Still from the visuals tweeted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
2.32 pm: Here is the audio message exchanged between the Rafale contingent and INS Kolkata
INS Kolkata: Welcome to Indian Ocean.
Rafale pilot: Many thanks. Most reassuring to have an Indian warship guarding seas
INS Kolkata: May you touch the sky with glory. Happy landings
Rafale leader: Wish you fair winds. Happy hunting. Over and out
2.25 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweets first visuals of Rafalt fighter jets
The Defence Minister put out a tweet with "five Rafales escorted by 02 SU30 MKIs as they enter the Indian air space".
2.18 pm: Ambala air base ready to welcome Rafale fighter jets
Ambala air base is all decked up and ready to welcome the first batch of five Rafate jets.
2.11 pm: Rafale jets to land at Ambala air base shortly
The countdown begins as the first five Rafale fighter jets can land at Ambala air base anytime from now.
2.05 pm: Rafale jets enter Indian airspace
Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria will receive the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets at Ambala air base. The aircraft will carry RB series tail numbers, the initials of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who played an important role in negotiations between India and France for the mega deal.
1.55 pm: Rafales enter India
The first batch of five Rafale aircraft landed at UAE's Al Dhafra base on Tuesday night as part of an overnight halt. The three single-seater and two double-seater aircraft had begun their journey on Monday from the French port city of Bordeaux. The jets will be inducted into the Indian Air Force's No 17 Squadron, also called the 'Golden Arrows'. India had signed a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from Frech company Dassault Aviation.
1.42 pm: Listen to the Indian Navy's radio message as first batch of Rafale jets enter the Indian airspace
1.35 pm: Indian Navy's radio message to Rafale jets
Indian naval ship INS kolkata welcomed Rafale jets as they entered the Indian airspace on Wednesday. The jets will land at the Ambala air base shortly.
1.27 pm: Breaking news: First batch of Rafale jets enter Indian airspace
1.15 pm: First five Rafale jets en route to India- Countdown begins
The warbirds have already taken off from UAE, will touch down at Ambala air base in a short while.
12.15 PM: Rafale carries potent weapons
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons, including missile maker MBDA's Meteor, and Scalp cruise missile. While meteor is a beyond visual range (about 150 km) air-to-air missile, the scalp is a long-range cruise missile with a range of 200 km. Both of these missiles can carry out deep strikes against enemy aircraft and targets on land.
12.05 PM: Major upgradation at Ambala airbase
For the deployment of the Rafale squadron, major infrastructure upgrades have been done at the Ambala airbase. The airbase currently has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MIG-21 Bison.
11.59 AM: Rafale deal in brief
In September 2016, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale jets at a cost of around Rs 59,000 crore. The purchase was made to further strengthen the Indian Air Force's combat capabilities. Of the 36 aircraft are arriving today.
11.50 AM: Ambala people enthusiastic about Rafale arrival in city
As per Haryana Home Minister and six-term MLA from Ambala Cantt Anil Vij, the people of Ambala are very enthusiastic and thousands would have come out on the streets to welcome the fighter jets before the touchdown had there not been a pandemic.
11.46 AM: India's Rafale Vs China's Chengdu J20
The arrival of Rafale jets comes amid escalating border tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control. Although China claims air superiority over India, the induction of Rafale fighter aircraft into the Indian Air Force could give India much-needed confidence to take on China's J20 5th generation aircraft.
11.43 AM: Iran's military drill near UAE airbase where Rafales were parked
Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday launched a military drill closed to Al Dhafra in UAE and Al Udeid in Qatar. The two bases in the Middle East, housing US troops and French troops, went on high alert when three Iranian missiles dropped in the waters near the bases. Incidentally, India's five Rafale jets were parked at the Al Dhafra airbase at that time. The Rafales began their journey from the Merignac airbase in the French port city of Bordeaux on Monday.
11.45 am: Rafale to be inducted into No. 17 Squadron
The Rafales will be inducted into the Indian Air Force's No 17 Squadron, also known as the 'Golden Arrows'. The five Rafale fighter aircraft took off from UAE at around 11 am IST and reach Ambala by 2 pm today.
11.37 am: Visuals from Ambala city
Haryana: First batch of five Rafale aircraft will arrive in Ambala today to join the India Air Force (IAF) fleet. Visuals from Ambala city.— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2020
Sec 144 CrPC imposed in 4 villages closer to Ambala airbase. Gathering of people on roofs & photography during landing strictly prohibited. pic.twitter.com/llbDp6ZC4G
11.34 AM: PM May take part in induction ceremony later
The induction ceremony of the aircraft would be held later, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to take part as the chief guest. The aircraft would soon move out to another operational base for carrying out sorties.
11.30 am: Pilots will share their experience
Once the aircraft land in Ambala, the pilots led by Group Capt Harkirat Singh would be received by the air chief. Pilots will share their experience about flying from France to India and their training routines. The pilots will follow the coronavirus-related protocols.
11.30 AM: Water salute to Rafale fighters
Water salute to be given to five Rafale fighter aircraft after their landing at the Ambala air base. Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria to be present at the air base.