New Delhi: A batch of three Rafale fighter aircraft landed in India on Thursday after taking off from France. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon be commencing flying operations of the second squadron of these planes in Hashimara, West Bengal, sources said on Friday.
This is the sixth batch of Rafale fighter jets from France that has been received by India, IAF sources told ANI.
Earlier, on April 22, the fifth batch of Rafale fighter aircraft that had four planes arrived in India after flying a distance of 8,000 km from the Merignac Air Base in France.
India had ordered 36 of Rafale fighter aircraft from France in September 2016. After the arrival of the sixth batch, IAF has now received two-third of the planes ordered from France. The addition of Rafale is seen as a major capability booster for the IAF.
The twin-engine Rafale jets are capable of carrying out a variety of missions: ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike deterrence.
The Rafales carrying the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles are considered to have an edge over fighter planes with Pakistan and China.
The planes equipped with the Hammer missiles have enhanced India’s capability to carry out air-to-ground strikes like the one in Balakot.