SOURCE: JAGRAN JOSH
The first four Rafale fighter jets will arrive in India from France by the end of July 2020. The combat aircraft were earlier supposed to be delivered by May end but the delivery was postponed by two months in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. The first four Rafale aircraft will include three twin-seater trainer aircraft and one single-seater fighter aircraft. They will start arriving at the Ambala airbase by July end.
The aircraft will have the tail numbers of the RB series to honour Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria who played a significant role in finalising India’s largest-ever defence deal for 36 Rafale combat aircraft.
The arrival of the aircraft and their integration into the Indian Air Force will provide a major boost to India’s firepower in the air.
The first aircraft to be flown in is set to be piloted by the Commanding Officer of the 17 Golden Arrows’ squadron along with a French pilot.
The aircraft will be refuelled once by a French Air Force tanker aircraft in the air before they make a stopover in the Middle East on their way from France to India.
During their journey from the Middle East to India, one mid-air refuelling of the jets will be done by the Indian IL-78 tanker before they land in India.
According to a source, the Rafale could have come directly from France to India. However, the 10-hour flight might get stressful for the pilots sitting inside a small cockpit.