The Indian Air Force (IAF) announced in a tweet around 9:45 pm on Wednesday that the third batch of three Rafale aircrafts landed at an IAF base late evening on Wednesday, after flying non-stop from France. The jets took off from the Istres Air Base in France earlier today and flew nearly 7000 kilometres non-stop, with in-flight refuelling provided by the Air Force of the United Arab Emirates.
In a big boost to the IAF, the air force has now received its third set of deliveries of the Rafale jets. The air force had ordered a total of 36 warplanes at a cost of 59,000 crore from France, back in September 2016. This last delivery has taken the number of Rafales in the IAFs inventory to 11. The second batch of the Rafale fighter jets had arrived in the Jamnagar air base in early November of last year, before they flew over to Ambala, their home base; while the first batch had arrived at the Ambala air base in July. After the arrival of the first batch, they were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force in an event attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh, French defence minister Florence, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and air force chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft, versatile enough to carry out all combat aviation missions - air superiority and air defense, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. This jet is capable of carrying most of the advanced missiles in the world.
These jets also have specific enhancements for India, such as cold engine start capability to operate from high altitude bases, radar warning receivers, light data recorded, jammers and towed decoys to ward off incoming missiles, and a lot more.