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First batch of 5 Rafale fighter aircraft flies out of France for India

First five Rafale jets for IAF took to skies from France for India, to reach Ambala on July 29

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Finally, in a long-awaited development, the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets took to skies from France. The fighter aircraft was flagged off by the Indian Ambassador to France from an airbase in Merignac in France. They are expected to halt at UAE and reach Ambala by July 29. The aircraft’s induction in Indian Air Force (IAF) will add teeth to the IAF’s fighter squadrons.

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The five aircraft flying to India today include seven Indian pilots including the commanding officer of the 17 Golden Arrows squadron. All the pilots have been trained on the aircraft by the French Dassault Aviation company. This is as per the agreement signed by India in 2016 for acquiring 36 Rafale jets for over Rs 60,000 crore.

The delivery of the aircraft was earlier scheduled for May. But it was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation in both India and France. The last batch of Rafales is expected to be delivered by September 2021.

The jet is equipped with a lethal HAMMER missile. It also has a number of India-specific modifications such as helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, infra-red search, and tracking systems. This will give a cutting edge to India over Pakistan and China.

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