The first lot of five Rafales, fighter aircraft , built by French firm Dassault Aviation, are being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s ”Golden Arrow” Squadron, based at Air Force Station , Ambala.
India had placed the order for 36 Rafales four years back, reportedly valued at 7.87 billion Euros , as part of its programme to modernise the IAF.
” These five include three single seater and two twin seater aircraft. The ferry of the aircraft is planned in two stages and will be undertaken by the pilots of the IAF, who have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft”, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The fighter jets are equipped with air-to-air refuelling capabilities.
” Today, five Indian Air Force Rafale operated by Indian Air Force pilots took off from Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility to ferry to Ambala Air Force Station for entering service in N°17 Squadron “Golden Arrows”, ” Dassault Aviation said in its media release.
It initiates the induction of the Rafale in the Indian Air Force, in the frame of the contract of 36 aircraft, and paves the way to fulfill the present and future needs and requirements of the Government of India, Dassault stated.
The first Dassault Aviation aircraft, Toofani was supplied to India in 1953, followed by the Mystere IV, the naval Alize, the Jaguar (manufactured under license by HAL), and the Mirage 2000. These aircraft have contributed to Indian sovereignty all along and the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft continues to be the IAF’s ‘cutting edge’ till date. 36 Rafales fighter aircraft were acquired on September 23rd 2016 to equip the Indian Air Force, the French firm added.