5 Rafale, the first batch of France, land on Ambala air base


Five Rafale planes from the controversial Rafale deal en route to India from France have landed at Ambala air base.Defense Minister Rajpath Singh earlier tweeted that the five Rafales were in Indian airspace and were being escorted by MKI SU30s.

“The five Rafales escorted by 02 SU30 MKI as they enter Indian airspace,” Rajnath Singh’s tweet read.

Previously, the jets had been hosted by the Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata.

Prior to their arrival, the areas around Ambala Air Base were subjected to scrutiny and Section 144 was imposed in some areas.

Read: Section 144 imposed near Ambala air base before the arrival of Rafale planes

To ensure maximum safety, residents of four villages in Ambala are asked not to click on the photos of the landing from their rooftops.

The five fighter jets refueled on their way home on Tuesday after their pit stop at Al Dhafra, the French air base in the United Arab Emirates. The Indian Air Force “appreciated the support” provided by the French Air Force for the transport of the jets, the agency reported.

The controversial Rafale aircraft purchase agreement finally saw the light of day on Monday as the first five took off from Mérignac air base in France. The IAF pilots were seen by Indian Ambassador Jawed Ashraf.

Also read: Everything you need to know about Rafale fighter jets

The jets will be inducted into the IAF as part of its No. 17 Squadron, also known as the “Golden Arrows”.

The five jets are part of 36 twin-engine planes purchased from Dassault Rafale for around Rs 59,000 crore in 2016.

The five-jet fleet includes three single-seater and two two-seater aircraft.

(With contributions from agencies)


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