HARYANA: The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets of the 36 ordered by India arrived at the IAF Air Force Station in Ambala on Wednesday.
They covered a distance of 7,000 km from France with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described the touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India “the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC”.
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
The aircraft were received by IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria who played a crucial role in the acquisition of these aircraft as in-charge of the Indian negotiating team for the Rs 60,000 crore defence deal which is the biggest ever to have been signed by India.
Bhadauria is the first chief to receive fighter aircraft from abroad with his initials on the tail number of the plane as the two trainer Rafale have RB written on their tails.
The pilots led by Group Captain Harkirat Singh met the IAF chief and briefed him about their flying and training in France.
The five Rafale fighter aircraft were flown by pilots of the 17 Golden Arrows led by Commanding Officer Group Captain Harkirat Singh along with other pilots, Wing Commanders MK Singh, R Kataria, Sidhu and Arun.