One of the Rafale jets that is on its way to India | Twitter: India in France @Indian_Embassy
One of the Rafale jets that is on its way to India | Twitter: India in France @Indian_Embassy
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New Delhi: Five Rafale fighter jets of the IAF have taken off from Merignac in France and will travel about 7,000 km, with a stopover in the UAE, before arriving at the Ambala air station Wednesday.

The IAF has been quiet on the exact configuration of the aircraft coming to India but sources indicated that two of the five fighters are twin-seaters used for training.

“These 5 Rafale jets are extremely swift, versatile and very deadly aircraft. They are both beauty and the beast. I would like to thank Dassault for delivering the aircraft on time and French Government and French Air Force for all the support,” Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf said.

A total of 12 pilots have undergone extensive training on the Rafale fighters and their weapon systems, while another batch is currently getting trained. 

Explaining the complexity of the training, the sources said the Rafale’s throttle and stick have 36 switches on them.

“Each switch has four distinct movements that are meant for specific operations. Imagine, the level of training that one goes through,” a source in the know told ThePrint.

The sources said this system is known as HOTAS or hands on throttle and stick. This means the pilot can use the throttle and stick to control the entire spectrum of the operations.

9 jets handed over so far

French defence major Dassault Aviation, which is manufacturing the Rafale jets, has since October last year handed over a total of nine aircraft to the IAF. The 10th is undergoing acceptance trials by IAF pilots in France. 

As reported by ThePrint earlier, sources have said the aircraft can be operationally deployed, if needed, “within a week”. 

The Indian Embassy in France has put out a series of tweets showing the fighters taking off.

Envoy Ashraf said the long awaited and much needed two squadrons of Rafale would add to the IAF’s strength and the country’s defence capability.

The Indian Air Force contingent at Merignac in France with a Rafale jet | Twitter: India in France @Indian_Embassy
The Indian Air Force contingent at Merignac in France with a Rafale jet | Twitter: India in France @Indian_Embassy

The journey 

The Rafale fighters have taken off from Merignac, where the production facility of Dassault Aviation is located.

They are headed to the French airbase in Al Dhafra near Abu Dhabi in the UAE for a night halt.

This would be a 10-hour journey and these fighters would be accompanied by two mid-air refuellers of the French Air Force.

There will be two rounds of mid-air refuelling to complete the journey.

While the distance to the UAE can be covered by the Rafale in much shorter time, they will have to keep pace with the tankers.

After the night halt in the UAE, the jets will take off for Ambala in Haryana, where the IAF’s 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ — home of the first Squadron of Rafale fighters — is based. A closed induction ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Ambala air base.

The Jamnagar air base has been kept ready as a backup in case of any kind of emergency, sources said.

Also read: For quick deployment of Rafale, IAF opts for HAMMER weapon system, not Israeli Spice 2000


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1 Comment Share Your Views


  1. As per news reports , first consignment of fighter jet Rafale is on its way to join IAF on 29 July 2020 to boost up India’s striking capabilities in the air. This and other happenings during July 2020 in the world having closer bearing to India , appear to be in line with this writer’s following predictions published at on 10 October , 2019 :-
    “Now something encouraging. The second half from July to October 2020 looks to be addressing the setbacks or delay of the past , particularly those of the first half. Some trends of success or forward movement in economic sector , political issues , are likely. Cooperation or support of global powers may be seen coming. Some historic political decision is likely. The obstructive forces may weaken to some extent. Like the previous year , acceptance by global community of India’s positive role in world affairs may be in news. It seems the said period of second half in 2020 can boost up ambitious side of the nation. Such knowledge or stuff related thereto as Yoga , Ayurveda , herbal and spiritual side addressing material issues like health”.
    This Vedic astrology writer has also addressed the issue of threat posed in year 2020 to India by China-Pak combine , through article published at on 20 July , 2020. The months of August-September , particularly the period from 11 August to 10 September in present year 2020 have been indicated there having phenomenal , historic and rare planetary configuration for India in particular and world in general. This is the time when the enemy or opponent can come down to the level of compromise or settlement , weighed down by military might , astute diplomacy and support of global community. So chances of war may arise but it seems better wisdom may likely prevail because defeat to the Chinese side is certain. And this is also the time when some credible and firm news of a competent , trustworthy , inspiring confidence and hitting –the-target news of a drug -vaccine in relation to Covid-19 infection is likely to come.
    This writer happened to read a news report on 27 July 2020 , which said that Russia has suspended delivery of S-400 surface to air missile to China. Obviously , the news appears to be in line with planetary interpretation for India as on 10 October , 2019 and 20 July 2020 , referred here.


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