The UAE is reportedly set to deploy its Airbus 330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) tankers this month to provide ‘mid-air fuelling’ to Rafale jets.
This deployment will help to ensure the fighter jets fly non-stop to India, reported OneIndia.
According to the news agency, the UAE would extend the deployment to the upcoming batch of eight Rafale jets, which would be flagged off from France next month.
Indian Air Force (IAF) decided to seek the UAE’s help after a previous experience, which found the use of French refuellers decreased the speed of the fighter jet fleet.
The first squadron of the Rafale fighters is stationed at Ambala AF station in the Indian state of Haryana.
In July, the first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India. This came nearly four years after India signed an ‘inter-governmental agreement’ with France to acquire 36 aircraft.
Last November, a second batch of three Rafale jets arrived while a third batch comprising three more jets joined the IAF in January.
India expects to procure more Rafale jets from France during the coming months.
The Rafale jets, which are equipped with twin-engine, can be deployed on various missions, such as for ground and sea attack, air defence and nuclear strike deterrence.
These jets can carry around 10t of weapons.
Furthermore, IAF is procuring Hammer, a new generation of medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system. This procurement is for integration with the Rafale jets.