NEW DELHI, July 27 (Xinhua) — The first batch of five Rafale jets on Monday took off from France and are likely to arrive in India on July 29, officials said.
On arrival in India, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is scheduled to induct them into their fleet at air force station Ambala in the northern state of Haryana, subject to weather conditions.
Ahead of their take off, Indian ambassador in France Jawed Ashraf visited the Rafale assembly line, training facilities and interacted with officials from Dassault Aviation and government officials from France. He also interacted with the Indian pilots and wished them a safe journey to India.
The Indian embassy in France also shared videos of Rafale jet plying on the runway readying to fly out.
The five aircraft will be the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France.
According to reports, the Rafale aircraft will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 km from France to India with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A statement issued by defense ministry last week said no media coverage was planned on arrival. However, the final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August 20 in full media glare.
India in 2016 signed a deal with France for purchasing 36 Rafale fighter jets in a bid to bolster the country’s military image. Enditem