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On Wednesday after flying non-stop from France, three Rafale fighter jets landed in Jamnagar, Gujarat. India received the second batch of Rafale combat aircraft in a big jump to the Indian Air Force’s firepower.
The IAF announced that the three aircraft had departed from the Istres airbase, France and had flown for more than eight hours covering more than 3,700 nautical miles before landing in India.
The progress comes even as tensions continue between India and China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Despite a series of diplomatic and military meetings, the Chinese build-up at LAC remains.
Earlier, on July 29, five Rafale jets flew through Abu Dhabi to Ambala airbase and were already inducted into IAF Squadron 17.
Second batch of IAF #Rafale aircraft arrived in India at 8:14 pm on 04 Nov 20 after flying non-stop from France.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) November 4, 2020
On 10 September, in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly, the five Rafale jets were inducted into the IAF’s Ambala airbase.
Under the 2016 agreement, as part of a Rs 59000 crore contract, India will get 36 Rafale jets from France.
The Rafale jets are able to accommodate a number of powerful weapons.
The key pillar of the Rafale jet weapons kit will be the European missile manufacturer MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to – air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapon system.
Rajnath Singh said that the contract with Rafale was a game-changer. “With Rafale, I am sure that our air force has gained a technical advantage,” the minister pointed out.
The Rafale is an aircraft of the 4.5 generation and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft, which means that in one sortie it can perform at least four missions.
There are HAMMER missiles on fighter aircraft. It will also be armed with missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA that are beyond visible range, improving their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.
In addition, the induction by April 2021 of 16 additional Rafale fighters would add to the strike capability of the IAF. By April 2021, as per reports, the 16 omni-role Rafale jet fighters will be inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron.