New Delhi: The five Rafale fighter jets were refuelled mid-air on their way to Ambala from France as the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday “appreciated the support” provided by French Air Force in transporting the fighter jets.
Earlier, all the five Rafale aircraft landed safely at the Al Dhafra airbase in UAE on Monday after a sortie in excess of seven hours, the IAF had said.
In a long-awaited development, five Rafale fighter aircraft took off on Monday for India from an airbase in France to join the IAF fleet in Ambala on Wednesday.
The fighter aircraft were flagged off by the Indian Ambassador to France from an airbase in Merignac, France where he interacted with the India crew flying it to India. The five aircraft flying to India include seven Indian pilots with the commanding officer of the 17 Golden Arrows squadron.
All the pilots have been trained on the aircraft by the French Dassault Aviation company as per the agreement signed for the biggest-ever defence deal signed by India in 2016 for acquiring 36 Rafale jets for over Rs 60,000 crore.
After a stopover post refuelling, these aircraft will then proceed towards Ambala and reach by July 29 morning. The delivery of the aircraft was earlier supposed to have been done by May-end but this was postponed by two months in view of the COVID-19 situation in both India and France.