The first batch of five Rafale jets landed in Ambala Wednesday afternoon. It was a historic moment as they were greeted with water cannon salute at Ambala Air Force base.
Rafale jets were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKI supersonic fighters as they entered Indian airspace.
After entering Indian Airspace, Indian Rafale contingent was welcomed by establishing radio contact with Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata, deployed in the Western Arabian Sea.
Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command Air Marshal B Suresh welcomed the first five IAF Rafales at Air Force Station Ambala.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the arrival of Rafale fighter jets in India.
In a tweet in Sanskrit, Mr Modi said, there is no virtue like defence of the nation, there is no vow like defence of the nation and there is no yagna like defense of the nation. He said, touch the sky with glory, Welcome.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the touch down of Rafale combat aircraft in India marks the beginning of a new era in country’s Military History.
In a series of tweets, Mr Singh said, these multi role aircraft will revolutionise the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. The Defence Minister congratulated the Indian Air Force on a professionally executed ferry.
He expressed confidence that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live upto their motto of “Udayam Ajasram”. Mr Singh expressed happiness that Indian Air Force’s combat capability has got a timely boost.
He said, the Rafale jets were purchased only because Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the right decision to get these aircrafts through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France, after the long pending procurement case for them could not progress. Mr Singh thanked him for his courage and decisiveness.
He also thanked the French Government, Dassault Aviation and other French companies for ensuring the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, despite the severe restrictions posed by COVID pandemic.
The Defence Minister said, this aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are among the best in the world.
He said, its arrival in India will make the Indian Air Force much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country. Mr Singh said, the Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. He said, the baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled.
The Defence Minister added that if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.
Home Minister Amit Shah said Rafale touchdown is a historic day for country’s vigorous Air Force. Mr Shah said this is a proud moment for India. He said these are the world’s most powerful machines capable to thwart any challenge in the sky. Home Minister expressed hope that Rafale will help air warriors to safeguard skies with its mighty superiority.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that Rafale jets join the Indian Air Force fleet in Ambala, Haryana and the new fighter jets will add to India’s firepower and strengthen our defence against enemies.
The fleet, comprising three single-seater and two twin- seater aircraft, will be inducted into the Indian Air Force at the Ambala airbase in Haryana.
The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac airbase in southern France’s Bordeaux on Monday.
The five aircraft are part of 36 planes bought by India from France in a Rs. 59,000-crore inter-governmental deal in 2016.
The aircraft covered a distance of nearly 7,000 kilometres from France to India with mid-air refuelling and a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Indian Embassy in France said, delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule but five have stayed back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of next year.