New Delhi: A third batch of three other Rafale fighter jets took off from France on Wednesday for a non-stop flight to India, to further strengthen the strike capacity of the Indian Air Force.
The United Arab Emirates Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) will provide in-flight refueling for the three Rafale jets, according to the Indian Embassy in France.
“Three other Rafale jets take off from France for a non-stop flight to India with in-flight refueling by UAE MRTT; Adding more strength to India’s air power. I wish our amazing pilots a smooth flight and safe landing with great fighter jets, ”he tweeted.
The first batch of five Rafale planes arrived in India on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an intergovernmental agreement with France to purchase 36 of the planes at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
The second batch of three Rafale aircraft arrived in India on November 3.
The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India’s first major acquisition of combat aircraft in 23 years after the importation of Sukhoi aircraft from Russia.
The new fleet of Rafale planes is making sorties in eastern Ladakh.
Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of powerful weapons. The Meteor air-to-air missile beyond the visual range of European missile maker MBDA, the Scalp cruise missile and the MICA weapon system will be the mainstay of the Rafale jet weapon package.
The IAF is also acquiring a new generation Hammer modular air-to-ground weapon system for integration with the Rafale jets.
Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) is a precision guided missile developed by the French defense major Safran. The missile was originally designed and manufactured for the French Air Force and Navy.
Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionize air-to-air combat. The weapon was developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
The first Rafale jet squadron is stationed at Ambala Air Base while the second will be based at Hasimara Base in West Bengal.
Also read: “A crying need for modernization” – why the armed forces want a big increase in the defense budget
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