Expected to boost the combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force, the first squadron of five Rafale jets will arrive in India’s Ambala airbase today. IAF chief RKS Bhadauria will receive the Rafale jets at the Ambala airbase.
Ahead of its arrival, authorities have tightened security and imposed prohibitory orders near the Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana. For security purpose, authorities have also banned shooting of videos and photography.
Part of security measure, the Ambala district administration has prohibited people from flying private drones within the three-km radius of the airbase.
Moreover, section 144, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in the villages adjoining the airbase, including Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjkhora.
These fighter jets took off from France on Monday and covered a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.
As per updates, the first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala airbase. These jets later in the day will be inducted into the IAF though a formal induction ceremony.
The IAF has undertaken major infrastructure upgrades at the Ambala base for the deployment of the first Rafale squadron. Built in 1948, the airbase is located on the east side of Ambala in Haryana and is used for military and government flights.
The development comes as India had inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
The fleet comprises three single seater- and two twin seater- aircraft. They will be inducted into the Indian Air Force as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the Golden Arrows at Ambala airbase.
Meanwhile, the IAF said that the pilots, ground crew and the fighter will be operationally ready as the jets reach India.
It is believed that the Rafale jets would be a game changer in the current scenario when India is engaged in a bitter standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh.
The first Rafale fighter was handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in October 2019 in a ceremony attended by the French Minister for Armed Forces Madame Florence Parly and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.
Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems, among others.
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