First batch of five Rafale jets enter Indian airspace2 min read . Updated: 29 Jul 2020, 02:36 PM IST
- 'The Birds have entered the Indian airspace..Happy Landing in Ambala!,' the defence minister tweeted
- Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will receive the fleet at Ambala
In historic moments for the Indian Air Force, the first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft has now entered Indian airspace, said officials.
The jets are expected to land Ambala air base shortly.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's office said the Rafales are escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space.
"The Birds have entered the Indian airspace..Happy Landing in Ambala!," the defence minister tweeted.
Water salute will be given to the five Rafale fighter aircraft after their landing at Ambala airbase in Haryana on Wednesday.
These fighter aircraft are flown by pilots of the 17 Golden Arrows led by Commanding Officer Group Captain Harkirat Singh along with other pilots, Wing Commanders MK Singh, R Kataria, Sidhu and Arun. Harkirat Singh is also likely to be the first pilot to touchdown at the base in Ambala.
The much-awaited Rafale fighter jets that took off from France on 27 July. Nearly four years ago, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France for 36 Rafale jets under a ₹59,000-crore deal to boost the IAF's combat capabilities.
The fleet landed at Al Dhafra airbase on Monday in the UAE after flying for over seven hours from the Merignac airbase. It was the only stopover by the jets while flying from France to India.
WATCH: Five Rafale jets in the Indian airspace, flanked by two Su-30MKIs
Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria would receive the batch of first five Rafale combat aircraft arriving from France. Water salute will be given to the five Rafale fighter aircraft after their landing at Ambala airbase.
The jets were also re-fuelled mid-air from a French tanker at a height of 30,000 feet.
Section 144 imposed in Ambala
Authorities tightened security and imposed prohibitory orders near the Ambala Air Force Station ahead of the arrival of five Rafale jets from France, banning shooting of videos and photography.
The Ambala district administration also prohibited people from flying private drones within the three-km radius of the air base, an official said. Section 144, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in the villages adjoining the air base, including Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjkhora.
The five aircraft landing in India include two twin seater trainer aircraft and three single seat fighter aircraft. Besides Ambala, a second lot of Rafales are to be stationed at the Hashimara air force station in West Bengal. Deliveries of the aircraft are expected to be completed by late 2021.
The Rafale fighter jets are capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons, including the Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile.
Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.
With inputs from PTI