The third batch of three Rafale fighter jets, which took off from France’s Istres airbase, has touched down at an airbase in India.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed landing of the jets on 27 January.
Multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) of the UAE Air Force provided mid-air refuelling to the three Rafale fighters.
The latest delivery of the fighter jets will further boost the striking capability of the IAF.
A tweet from the Indian Embassy in France read: “Three more Rafale jets take off from France for a non-stop flight to India with mid-air refuelling by UAE MRTT; adding more strength to India’s air power. Wishing our amazing pilots smooth flight & safe landing with superb fighter jets.”
The second batch of three Rafale aircraft took off from Istres airbase in France and arrived India on 3 November 2020.
The first batch of five jets arrived in India in July and was formally inducted into the IAF in September. Following the induction, the five aircraft became part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron.
Earlier, India signed deals to acquire 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation. The final lot of jets is expected to be delivered by April 2022.
Of the 36 jets, six will be trainers while the remaining 30 will be fighter jets.
India has also deployed this multi-role aircraft in the ongoing military standoff with China.
The new fleet of Rafale fighters is performing sorties in eastern Ladakh, India, stated PTI.
In addition, the Indian Air Force is acquiring a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system ‘Hammer’.
This weapon system is being procured to be integrated with the Rafale jets.
Currently, IAF is equipped with Rafale, Sukhois, LCA Tejas, Mirage 2000s and MIGs, in addition to Apache and Chinook helicopters, and transport aircraft such as the C-130Js and C-17 Globemasters.