Guwahati: As a part of the Rs 59,000-crore deal with the French government, the second batch of Rafale fighter jets are all set to arrive at the Ambala Air Force Station in October.
Reports suggest that there are likely to be four Rafale jets coming this October. These will then land here after the formal induction ceremony of the first five Rafale fighters that will be held on September 10. If sources are to be believed, the ceremony would be attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly.
On July 29, five Rafale fighter jets that included two twin seaters had landed at the Ambala Air Force Station, home of the first squadron of French fighters. With a stopover in UAE, they had flown about 8,500 km from Merignac in France.
Rafale fighter jets are considered to be one of the finest fighters in the world. Known as the 4.5 generation aircraft, the Rafale can also be described as an ‘omnirole’ aircraft as it can take up several missions on a single flight.
In 2016, India had ordered 36 Rafale Fighter jets, however, the number is way too small for the Indian Air Force, say experts. IAF at present has a strength of 31 squadrons as against the sanctioned one of 42 squadrons. Additionally, IAF was supposed to come out with a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA 2.0) for 114 fighters. But, the work on it has rather been quite slow with a formal tender yet to be issued.
According to leading news daily, this tender could take time, and hence the main focus now is to firm up the order of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A. Meanwhile, talks of additional 36 Rafale fighters have also been doing the rounds for long in defense corridors.