Last October, Rajnath Singh had gone on a three-day tour to France to take part in the handover event at a facility of Dassault Aviation in the Merignac area of Bordeaux, around 590 km from Paris. Mr Singh had taken a 20-minute sortie in the aircraft after performed a pooja.
The first batch of five Rafale jets flew out of France today and will arrive in India on Wednesday, July 29, when the fighter jets will officially be inducted and join the Indian Air Force fleet in Haryana’s Ambala. The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac airbase in southern France’s Bordeaux today.
The five Rafale are the first batch of the 36 supersonic omnirole combat aircraft that India is buying from France. Till now, 12 IAF fighter pilots have completed their training on the Rafale fighter jets in France and a few more are in the advanced phase of their training. According to the contract between India and France, the two countries a total of 36 IAF pilots are to be trained on the Rafale combat jets by French aviators. While most of the IAF pilots will be trained in France, some of them will undergo the exercise in India.
The Rafale jets will be flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots and these jets will stop at Al Dhafra airbase in UAE for refuelling, covering a distance of almost 7,364 kilometres to India.