The Indian Air Force’s strike capability is set for a boost as three more French Rafale multi-combat fighter jets are expected to arrive in India on November 5. The second package will provide additional support to the present Rafale squadron which is 5 in number. Rafale jets are capable of firing Meteor missile and Scalp missile.
An ANI report quoted a government official as saying: “The second batch of 3-4 Rafale fighter jets would be arriving in India by the first week of November from France and preparations are on for their arrival in the country.
“With the induction of these aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) would have eight-nine fighter aircraft, which will be operationalised within a few days in view of the ongoing situation,” officials added.
The next batch of three Rafales will arrive in Ambala on November 5 directly from the Bordeaux-Merignac facility.
The Rafale fighters have already been operationalised and have also been deployed in the conflict zone of Ladakh in the short duration of time they have been with the Air Force. The arrival of these fighters will boost the IAF’s ability to tackle threats from China amid the ongoing standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
Notably, the first batch of Rafales had arrived in India on July 28. The first five fighter jets were inducted in Ambala in presence of the French Defence Minister Florence Parry and Indian Chief Of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat along with the IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria.
Three more Rafale fighters will be delivered to India from France in January 2021, three in March and seven in April. In September of 2016, India signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter as part of a Rs 59000 crore deal.