Bengaluru, NFAPost: As India-China hostilities are reaching a flashpoint, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set receive the first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft on Wednesday.
According to Indian Airforce statement, Indian Air Force aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now.
The first five Rafales will make public debut on October 8 at the Air Force Day flypast. ‘Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest,” states Air Foce official.
Air Force has decided to hold fly tactical missions from Ambala once they arrive. It will be formally inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron in late August.
Defence Analyst Ajay Shukla states that the five Rafales will take off from Istres, France and will be flown to India by IAF pilots, with mid-air refuelling en route from an accompanying French Air Force tanker aircraft.
“They will make just one stopover – at the United Arab Emirates’ Al Dhafra air force base near Abu Dhabi,” according to Livefist, an authoritative defence blog.
The arrival of the Rafael aircarft comes after the IAF signing a Euro 7.8 billion contract with French aerospace firm Dassault for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in In September 2016. Even though delivery was supposed to commence in September 2019, IAF is gearing up to form the first squadron within three months.