A Rafale fighter jet | Photo: Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The first five Rafale fighter jets would be inducted at the Air Force Station in Ambala on 29 July and their first mission could very well be in Ladakh where the Indian Air Force (IAF) is conducting Combat Air Patrol (CAP) to provide back up to the soldiers on ground engaged in a tense stand-off with China.

The IAF, in a statement, Monday said that after the arrival on 29 July, “efforts will focus on operationalisation of aircraft at the earliest”. A formal induction ceremony will be held in Ambala in the second half of August.

According to the contract signed in September 2016, 12 aircraft are supposed to be delivered every year.

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

Four aircraft were to originally land in May, but got delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Once inducted, the Rafale with its cutting edge missiles will be the most modern and deadly fighter in this region. 

“The target is to ensure that the Rafale is immediately operationalised. The IAF is already mission deployed in wake of the tensions at the Line of Actual Control. The aircraft is a big boost to the firepower capability and in a way a morale booster also,” a source in the defence establishment said.

The IAF said that its aircrew and the ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now.


Also read: All about Rafale fighters, the game-changing dream machines IAF will get tomorrow


The weapons package

The main weapons package was supposed to arrive in October. However, following a request, France has diverted the missiles made for its own air force to India. These have started arriving already.

These missiles include the beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Meteor, which has the capability to hit targets over 120 km away, and the long range air-to-ground stand-off cruise missile, SCALP, which can strike targets 600 km away.

As reported by ThePrint on 29 June, the five Rafale jets will take off from Istres in France and fly to the French airbase in Al Dhafra near Abu Dhabi in the UAE. 

After a night halt, the jets will fly to Ambala in Haryana, where the IAF’s 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ is based.

“The fighters will be flown by Indian pilots and will fly straight for 10 hours (Al Dhafra). It will have a halt for the night and next day fly to Ambala,” a source had said.

IAF pilots getting trained in re-fuelling in France

The initial plan was that the aircraft would arrive after layovers in multiple countries. 

However, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the pilots would have to undergo quarantine at each base.

Hence, it was decided that two French mid-air re-fuellers will fly with the fighters. There would be at least two rounds of mid-air re-fuelling on the way to UAE. 

Indian mid-air refuellers will take charge the next day for the journey to Ambala. Indian Air Force pilots are now getting trained in France for re-fuelling. This was not part of the original training.


Also read: Advantage Rafale? Foreign firms want clarity from IAF on ‘staggered’ purchase of fighters


 

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3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. 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 https://www.theindiapost.com/articles/predictions-for-coming-year-2020-by-kushal-kumar/ 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”.

  2. 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 https://www.theindiapost.com/articles/predictions-for-coming-year-2020-by-kushal-kumar/ 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 http://www.nirpakhawaaz.com/2020/07/20/planetary-configuration-in-august-september-2020-suggest-something-historic-something-rare/ 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. And enemy or opponent can opt war to get a crushing defeat. So chances of war may arise but it seems better wisdom may likely prevail. 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.

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