Three more Dassault Rafale multirole fighter aircraft arrived at Jamnagar Air Force Station (AFS) in western India on the evening of 27 January as part of an order for 36 such aircraft placed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2016 for EUR7.9 billion (USD9.57 billion).
One of the three Dassault Rafale multirole fighters for the IAF that arrived in India on 27 January. (IAF)
The Rafales, which flew over 7,000 km non-stop from France using in-flight refuelling provided by A330 MRTT tankers from the United Arab Emirates, will be stationed at Ambala AFS in northern India – near India’s disputed border with Pakistan – where they will supplement eight similar aircraft operated from that base by the IAF’s No 17 ‘Golden Arrow’ Squadron.
The remaining seven Rafales needed to complete a squadron of 18 fighters at Ambala AFS are likely to be delivered by mid-2021.
Thereafter, deliveries will begin for the IAF’s second Rafale squadron, which will operate from Hasimara AFS in northeastern India, close to the country’s disputed border with China. These aircraft are set to be inducted into the IAF’s No 101 ‘Falcons’ Squadron, which will also comprise 18 fighters. Deliveries are likely to be completed by late 2022 or early 2023.
India has been building hangars, bomb-proof shelters, and maintenance facilities for the Rafales at both airbases.
Meanwhile, Indian media reported on 24 January that New Delhi is working a 3.2 km-long stretch of highway near the Sultanpur district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh that will allow Rafales and Su-30MKI multirole fighters to land.
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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)