The five Rafale jet fighters proposed to be delivered to India took off from the France Airbase last night only to be stopped enroute at Al Dhafra Airbase in the United Arab Emirates for a couple of hours today.
The jet fighters are expected to reach Ambala airbase in Haryana tomorrow on Wednesday after a non-stop travel for 36 hours and a stretch of 7500 km. It is said that France also sending a fuel loaded jet plane along with the fighters only to refuel them in the midair.
The fighter jets are being driven by the 10 highly-trained Indian pilots who have been deployed 2 for each plane. Earlier, in the day, Indian Ambassador to India in France has met the pilots formally at the airbase and given them a warm send-off.
The Rafale Jet fighters of the Frech-make are considered to be the most advanced fighter planes in the world. They are being delivered to India as part of its purchase order 36 Rafale aircraft from France. As part of it, 5 aircraft are being delivered now and the rest would be delivered in the next year’s time. The missiles, however, will be fixed to the craft only after reaching Ambala. It is said the missiles such as Scalp, Meteor and Hammer can be equipped with these fighter jets with a capacity to hit the target at a range of 300 km. It means that for a Balakot-type operation, Indian jets need not cross LoC and could conduct the strikes from within Indian airspace.
Rafale’s first squadron will be located in Ambala, while the second will be in Hashimara, West Bengal.