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'IAF's combat capability got a timely boost': Rajnath Singh after Rafale jets' arrival

Rafale jets also received a traditional water cannon salute, which involves two fire trucks spraying water and creating an arch for the plane to taxi through

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 29, 2020 | Updated 20:01 IST
'IAF's combat capability got a timely boost': Rajnath Singh after Rafale jets' arrival
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The first batch of Rafale fighter jets which took off from France on Monday landed at Ambala airbase on Wednesday. The five jets - 3-single seater, and 2-double seater planes - have been delivered to India nearly four years after it signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets under a Rs 59,000 crore deal to boost the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s combat capabilities.

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India, informed the public through a Twitter update: "The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC."

These Rafale jets also received a traditional water cannon salute, which involves two fire trucks spraying water and creating an arch for the plane to taxi through. Water cannon salute is a customary tradition that is brought into action when a new aircraft is commissioned into service or any important milestone that may deem fit for the 'shower of affection'.

Singh, in a series of tweets, also shared a video of the Rafale jet touchdown at Ambala.

The Rafale aircraft were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space. The aircraft, considered to be one of the most potent combat jets worldwide, landed at the Ambala Air Force base after covering a distance of around 7,000 km from the French airbase in the port city of Bordeaux.

Singh said: "I congratulate the IAF on a professionally executed ferry. I am sure that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live up to their motto of "Udayam Ajasram". I am extremely happy that IAF's combat capability has got a timely boost."

Additionally, as the Rafale jets entered the Indian airspace, naval warship INS Kolkata welcomed the aircraft. In an audio clip that has been doing the rounds, one can hear warm welcome messages shared between the Rafale pilot and the INS Kolkata deployed in the Western Arabian Sea.

The INS Kolkata welcomed the Rafale jets into the Indian Ocean airspace. The Rafale leader replied by saying that it is reassuring to have an Indian warship guarding the seas. The Arrow Leader is then wished luck by the Indian warship.

All five Rafale jets started their journey to India from the Merignac airbase in French city of Bordeaux. The aircraft covered around 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates before arriving at Ambala airbase, said officials.

The fleet will be inducted into the IAF as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the 'Golden Arrows'. However, a formal induction ceremony will be held around mid-August which is likely to be attended by the top military brass and Defence Minister.

The Ambala base is considered to be one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the Indo-Pak border is nearly 220 km from it. Currently, the base has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MiG-21 Bison.

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