After the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets arrived in India on July 29, the second batch of three Rafale jets arrived at Gujarat’s Jamnagar airbase on Wednesday evening. Unlike the first batch that made a halt in the UAE before arriving in India, the second batch of the fighter jets flew non-stop from France.
The arrival of the second batch was revealed by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF tweeted: “Second batch of IAF #Rafale aircraft arrived in India at 8:14 pm on 04 Nov 20 after flying non-stop from France.”
The second batch of three Rafale aircraft got airborne from Istres airbase in France and flew for over eight hours before landing in Jamnagar. They covered a distance of over 3,700 nautical miles with three in-flight refuellings. The mid-air refuelling support was provided by the French Air Force.
The arrival of more Rafale fighter jets has bolstered the strength of the IAF, especially when India is engaged in a bitter border dispute with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at Ambala airbase while the second one will be based at Hasimara in West Bengal.
India to get 36 Rafale jets by 2023
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on October 5 had said the induction of all 36 Rafale jets will be completed by 2023.
Known for their air-superiority and precision strikes, the Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The newly inducted fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a bitter border row for over five months.
First batch of Rafale jets arrived in July
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29. The delivery took nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of these aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
The first batch of Rafale jets was finally inducted into the IAF on September 10.
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