Dassault Aviacion announced that the first five French Rafale fighters took off from France to India on Monday, with Indian Air Force pilots on board.
On Wednesday, the fighters will arrive at the Ambala air base in the north of the country, 200 km from the Pakistani and Chinese borders.
During the flight, it will be refueled in the air several times, and will land in Al Dhafra in the Emirates, where France has an air base.
The Indian Air Force announced that “the pilots and personnel on the ground have received comprehensive training in the use of the aircraft, including advanced armament systems.”
Five Rafale fighters taking off from France today to join the Indian Air Force fleet on 29th July. They will be refuelled by French Air Force tanker aircraft on their way to an airbase in the UAE for a temporary halt before leaving for India.— Commander Ashok Bijalwan, IN (Retd) (@AshTheWiz) July 27, 2020
Jai Hind 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/4Z3OrdLYxo
Shri Jawad Ashraf, the Indian ambassador to France, declared that it is “a fast, flexible, versatile and lethal aircraft.”
“It will enhance our air capabilities and defensive readiness, but it is also a symbol of a strategic partnership between France and India,” he added.
The first Rafale fighter that was ordered in September 2016 was officially delivered to India last October, but the fighters and crews remained in France until the completion of the mission of training pilots and maintenance crews.
The other fighters will be handed over successively until 2022.