The first batch of the Rafale aircraft purchased from France for the Indian Air Force took off.
The first five of the Rafale aircraft purchased from France took off to meet the needs of the Indian Air Force. The aircraft were airborne by the pilots of the Indian Air Force who had previously been trained. Aircraft airlifted from Dassault Aviation facilities will land in Ambala Air Base, India.
After their training, the pilots of the Indian Air Force will have demonstrated all their capabilities, including aerial refueling, with the support of the French Air Force.
The procurement process for India’s Rafale aircraft has been delayed many times. As a result of the disruption caused by the COVID-19, India’s Defence Minister said the aircraft would arrive at the end of May.
Infrastructure facilities were created in Ambala for the first fleet of Rafale jets called the “Golden Arrow”. Rafale’s second squadron will be deployed in Hasimara Air Base in West Bengal to counter the growing Chinese threat in the region.
India Air Force multiplies options
India’s Defence Ministry has approved the purchase of 33 Russian-origin fighter jets as border clashes with China in the Himalayas region continue. With approval in early July, the purchase of 21 Mikoyan MiG-29 and 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKI will take place at a total cost of $2.43 billion. The MiG-29 aircraft will consist of modernized used aircraft.
21 MiG-29 fighter jets will support aircraft upgraded to the MiG-29M, which has served in the Indian Air Force since 1986. 12 Su-30MKIs will replace aircraft losses in accidents over the years. These aircraft will be produced as licensed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). HAL seems eager to keep the production line open.
India ordered 272 Su-30 fighter jets with different parties over a period of 10 to 15 years. Members of the Indian Air Force estimate the number of aircraft acquired so far will be sufficient to meet the requirement.
21 MiG-29 fighter jets that the IAF planned to buy from Russia were offered to help the Indian Air Force meet the need for new fighter jets.
The MiG-29s planned to be purchased from Russia are actively flown by the Indian Air Force and therefore the pilots are quite familiar with this aircraft, but the new MiG-29s offered by the Russians are different from those in the Indian Army inventory. IAF officials, therefore, undertook several investigations on the proposed aircraft.
The Indian Air Force has 3 MiG-29 squadrons that are under modernization.