In order to provide an impetus to the Indian Air Force's capability amid exacerbating Indo-China border tension, three more Rafale jets will arrive at Gujarat's Jamnagar air base directly from France's Istres on Wednesday. Jets will be accompanied by French Air Force's mid-air refueling aircraft. The IAF will have eight Rafale fighter aircraft with the induction of these aircraft into the 'Golden Arrows' squadron of the IAF.
A team of experts, led by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Projects) has been coordinating over any legal issues for receiving the fighter jets in France. The IAF pilots who will fly these jets have been trained at the Saint Dizier air base in batches.
The three Rafale aircraft, that are arriving today, shall be operationalised within a few days amid the ongoing tension on the Ladakh border. The previously inducted Dassault-manufactured fighter jets have already been operationalised and are deployed across the Ladakh border, according to an ANI report.
The first batch of five Rafales arrived in India on July 28 and was officially inducted into the IAF on September 10 by the NDA government in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and French Defence Minister Florence Parly. As per a Rs 60,000 crore deal inked by the Narendra Modi government in 2016, a total of 36 Rafale aircraft would reach India by mid-2022.
Rafale bolsters the IAF's arsenal due to its capabilities to carry out combat operations such as close air support, air superiority and air defence, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes, nuclear deterrence and in-depth strikes. Rafale jets are the first major acquisition by India after importing Sukhoi jets from Russia.
Edited with inputs from agencies by Mehak Agarwal