The Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced that three more Rafale fighter jets arrived in the country on 4 November amid ongoing border tensions with China.
The aircraft flew in from Istres in France to Jamnagar in Gujarat, along with the mid-air refuelling aircraft of the French Air Force.
Media reports have stated that the journey from France took eight hours, demonstrating the long-range operational capability.
In a tweet, the Indian Air Force said: “The second batch of three Rafale aircraft got airborne from Istres airbase in France and flew for over eight hours before landing at an IAF base.
“They covered a distance of over 3,700 nautical miles with three in-flight refuellings.”
With this aircraft arrival, the IAF will have eight Rafale jets in its fleet.
The first batch of five jets arrived in India in July and was formally inducted into the IAF last month. Following the induction, the five aircraft became part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron.
Earlier, India signed deals to acquire 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation. All the jets are expected to arrive in India by the end of next year.
To support the western and eastern fronts, one Rafale combat aircraft squadron will be based in Ambala in Haryana and the other will be in Hashimara, West Bengal.
Presently, IAF is equipped with Rafale, Sukhois, LCA Tejas, Mirage 2000s and MIGs, in addition to Apaches and Chinooks helicopters and transport aircraft such as the C-130Js and C-17 Globemasters.
Last month, Greece also announced plans to purchase 18 Rafale jets.