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Three new Rafale jets to fly non-stop from France to India



Three new Rafale jets to fly non-stop from France to India

Three new Rafale jets to fly non-stop from France to India

Three Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force are scheduled to arrive on November 4 flying non-stop from France, an official source said. With this, the IAF will have eight of the 36 Rafale jets in service.

“Three Rafale jets will fly directly from Istres in France to Jamnagar, an eight-hour-plus non-stop flight,” the source said. They will be accompanied by French Air Force mid-air refuelling aircraft. “There will be three tankings in all,” the source said.

The first batch of five Rafale jets were formally inducted into the No.17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the IAF on September 10 at the Ambala Air Force station. They arrived in India in July with a stopover at the Al Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the first leg of the flight from the Merignac airbase at Bordeaux in France to the UAE, the jets were accompanied by the French Air Force mid-air refuellers. For the journey from the UAE, they were accompanied by IAF midair refuellers.

The five jets, three single seat and two twin-seater trainers, were flown from France by IAF pilots led by Commanding Officer of No. 17 squadron Group Captain Harkirat Singh. The Indian Embassy in France had said in a statement that delivery of all 36 aircraft would be completed as per schedule by 2021-end. The second squadron would be based at Hasimara in West Bengal.

Last month, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said the IAF would get three or four Rafales every two or three months till all 36 jets were delivered and that the first squadron would be fully ready by 2021-end and the second by 2023. “In the next three years, we will see the Rafale and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) MK1 squadrons operating with full strength, along with additional Su-30MKI and MiG 29 aircraft, that are being ordered in addition to the current fleets,” he said.

India has contracted 36 Rafale omni-role fighter jets from France in fly-away condition with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) under a €7.87-billion Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in September 2016.

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