New Delhi: Soon after the first batch of five Rafale combat jets landed at the Ambala airbase, the Indian Naval warship welcomed the jets with warm greetings. Also Read - Congress Decides to Postpone Party President Election Due to Pandemic
INS Kolkata in a radio message said to the Rafale jets “May you touch the sky with glory. Happy landings.” Also Read - Deploy Resources in Saving Lives Instead of Building PM's New House: Priyanka Gandhi
Giving its first reaction over the landing of the Rafale jets, the Congress on Wednesday took to Twitter and said that it had first initiated the talks to get the Rafale jets from France. Also Read - Titabar Election Result 2021: Cong's Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah Wins
“We congratulate the Indian Air Force on receiving the Rafale jets. INC govt’s labour in identifying and purchasing Rafale in 2012 have finally borne fruit,” the Congress said in a tweet.
On Wednesday, a fleet of five French-manufactured Rafale multi-role combat jets arrived at Ambala airbase nearly 23 years after Sukhoi aircraft were imported. The Rafale jets are expected to give country’s air force a strategic edge over its adversaries in the neighbourhood.
Having undisputed track record and considered as one of the most potent combat jets globally, these jets landed at the Ambala Air Force base after covering a distance of 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux.
After entering the Indian air space, these Rafales jets were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs. The NDA government had inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force did not fructify during the UPA regime.
The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, are being inducted into the IAF as part of its Ambala-based No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’.
A government statement on Monday said 10 Rafale jets were delivered to India and that five of them are staying back in France for training missions. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021, it added.
Though the jets are being inducted into the IAF on Wednesday, there will be formal ceremony in mid-August to welcome them into the force. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top military brass of the country are expected to attend the event.