New Delhi, October 16:
Amid the ongoing China border conflict, Indian Air Force’s (IAF) offensive capabilities will get a boost as 3-4 Rafale fighter jets would be arriving at the Ambala airbase in Haryana by the first week of November.
This would be the second batch of these French-origin fighter jet aircraft as the first batch of five Rafales had arrived in India on July 28 and were officially inducted on September 10 by the Narendra Modi government.
“The second batch of 3-4 Rafale fighter jets would be arriving in India by first week of November from France and preparations are on for their arrival in the country,” government sources.
“With the induction of these aircraft, the IAF would have 8-9 fighter aircraft which will be operationalised within a few days in view of the ongoing situation,” they said.
The Rafale fighters have already been operationalised and have also been deployed in the conflict zone of Ladakh in the short duration of time they have been with the Air Force.
An IAF team headed by Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Projects) Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari in France for reviewing the project as part of the annual routine meeting.
The Indian pilots are training there in France and by March 2021, the Indian side is likely to complete the training phase there.
The IAF will deploy one squadron each of the Rafale combat aircraft at its airbases in Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal.
In September of 2016, India signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over 7.8 billion euros to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts.
The first five fighter aircraft were inducted in Ambala in presence of the French Defence Minister Florence Parry and Indian Chief Of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat along with the IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria.