Ambala Air Force Station gets ready to welcome Rafale fighter aircraft, security beefed up
Amid simmering tensions between India and China at Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, the first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft took off from France's Istres airbase on Monday (July 27) and will land at Ambala in India on Wednesday (July 29).
Sources said that security has been beefed up at Ambala Air Force Station ahead of the arrival of Rafale jets and the station is fully prepared to welcome Rafale jets, which will arrive in India after covering a distance of almost 7,364 kilometres. It is learnt that around 3 kilometer area near Ambala Air Force Station has been declared as a no-drone zone. Talking to Zee Media, Ambala Cantonment DSP said that anyone found violating the security arrangements will face strict legal action.
The five Rafale jets landed safely in Al Dhafra airbase on Monday after a sortie in excess of 7 hours. The five Rafales will fly out for India on Wednesday (July 29) morning and reach Ambala Air Force Station in the afternoon.
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.
Rafale is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SCALP air-to-ground cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
The IAF will further boost the capabilities of the combat aircraft by equipping it with the HAMMER missiles from France. The order for the HAMMER standoff missiles is being processed under the emergency powers for acquisition given to the armed forces by the Centre. HAMMER missiles have the capability to take out any types of targets at the range of around 60-70 kms.
The trainer Rafale aircraft will have the tail numbers of the RB series in honour of the IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria who played a significant role in finalising Rafale deal. India had inked a Rs 60,000 crore deal with France in September 2016 for 36 Rafales to bolster the capabilities of IAF.