Third batch of Rafale jets arrive in India; fly 7000 km non-stop from France

New Delhi: The third batch of three Rafale fighter jets arrived in India on Wednesday (January 27) night after flying non-stop from France, the Indian Air Force confirmed. The jets took off from the Istres Air Base in France and flew nearly 7000 kilometres non-stop.

The Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) of the United Arab Emirates provided mid-air refuelling to the three Rafale jets, according to the Indian embassy in France.

“3rd batch of 3 Rafale aircraft landed at an IAF base a short while ago. They flew over 7000 km with in-flight refuelling. The aircraft got airborne earlier today from Istres Air Base in France. IAF deeply appreciates the tanker support provided by UAE Air Force,” the IAF tweeted on Wednesday.

IAF has now inducted 11 of the 36 twin-engine Rafales, which are also capable of delivering nuclear weapons, under the Rs 59,000 crore deal inked with France in September 2016. All 36 will be delivered by end-2022.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, while the second batch of three Rafale jets landed in India on November 3, 2020.

The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets which were imported from Russia.

The first squadron of the Rafale jet is stationed at Ambala airbase while the second one will be based at Hasimara base in West Bengal.

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