The Indian Air Force is all set to get a major boost with the arrival of 10 new Rafale fighter aircraft in the coming month. "Three Rafale fighters would be arriving in India in next two to three days directly flying from France with mid-air refuelling support by a friendly Air Force," a senior government official said.
"Following that, we would be getting around 7-8 more of these fighters and their trainer version in the second half of next month. This would greatly boost our capability to carry out our missions," added the official.
After arriving from France, some jets would be stationed in Ambala, while others would be later sent to Hasimara where the process of setting up the second squadron has already started, as per news agency ANI.
The new additions would take the number of Rafale fighter aircraft in IAF to 21 as 11 of them are already flying with the Ambala-based Golden Arrows or No. 17 Squadron.
India had ordered 36 of these fighter aircraft from France in September 2016 and by April-end 2021, more than 50 per cent of these fighters would have arrived in India.
The Rafale aircraft were inducted into the Air Force fleet in July-August 2020 and were operationalised by IAF in the shortest possible time. The aircraft had also been deployed for patrolling in eastern Ladakh during the height of the China confrontation.
The twin-engine Rafale jets are capable of carrying out a variety of missions - ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike deterrence.
The planes are also equipped with the Hammer missiles, which enhanced their capability to carry out air to ground strikes like the one in Balakot. Rafale aircraft carrying the long-range Meteor air to air missiles have given an edge to Indian planes over their Chinese and Pakistani rivals.
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