New Delhi: In a historic moment for the Indian Air Force, the first batch of five Rafale combat jets on Wednesday arrived at the Ambala airbase. These jets had started off from France on Monday. IAF chief RKS Bhadauria received the Rafale jets at the Ambala airbase. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: How 'Hero' Captain Deepak Sathe Saved Hundreds of Lives
Soon after its arrival, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called it ‘beginning of a new era’, and said the birds have landed safely in Ambala. Also Read - Captain Sathe, ex-IAF Pilot, Who Died in Tragic Kozhikode Plane Crash
“The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touchdown of Rafale combat aircraft in India marks the beginning of a new era in our military history. These multirole aircraft will revolutionise the capabilities of the Indian Air Force,” Rajnath Singh said in a tweet. Also Read - Indian Air Force STAR Exam Tentative Date Out: Exam Likely in Third Week of August | Read Details
These Rafale jest are expected to boost the combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force. Ahead of its arrival, authorities had tightened security and imposed prohibitory orders near the Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana. Moreover, authorities have also banned shooting of videos and photography.
Section 144, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in the villages adjoining the air base, including Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjkhora.
These fighter jets took off from France on Monday and covered a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.
The fleet had landed at Al Dhafra airbase on Monday in the UAE after flying for over seven hours from the Merignac airbase. It was the only stopover by the jets while flying from France to India.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s office, earlier in the day, said that said the Rafales are escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space. These jets were also refulled mid-air from a French tanker at a height of 30,000 feet.
Notably, these Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades, and they are expected to significantly boost the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities.