The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets has landed at the Ambala airbase on Wednesday, July 29. Two Sukhoi jets escorted the Rafales all the way to Haryana's Ambala Air Force base.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: "The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC."
In a series of tweets, Rajnath Singh said, "I congratulate the IAF on a professionally executed ferry. I am sure that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live upto their motto of "Udayam Ajasram". I am extremely happy that IAF's combat capability has got a timely boost."
"I also thank the French Government, Dassault Aviation and other French companies for ensuring the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, despite the severe restrictions posed by COVID pandemic."
"The Rafale jets were purchased only because PM Shri @narendramodi took the right decision to get these aircrafts through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France, after the long pending procurement case for them could not progress. I thank him for his courage & decisiveness."
"This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country."
"The Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled."
"I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity," tweeted the Defence Minister.
The 'game-changing' Rafales have covered a distance of almost 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet. The jets will soon be inducted into the IAF as they land in Ambala today.
As the French Rafales enter the Indian airspace, they received a warm welcome by an Indian Naval warship.
Take a look at the conversation between the Rafale contingent and INS Kolkata:
INS Kolkata: Welcome to the Indian Ocean
Rafale pilot: Many thanks. Most reassuring to have an Indian warship guarding seas
INS Kolkata: May you touch the sky with glory. Happy landings
Rafale pilot: Wish you fair winds. Happy hunting. Over and out
Taking to Twitter, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "The Birds have entered the Indian airspace..Happy Landing in Ambala!"
Rafales to join 'Golden Arrows' squadron
The five Rafales took off from the UAE today morning. The jets will be inducted into the IAF fleet as part of its No 17 Squadron, which is also known as the 'Golden Arrows'.
Check the visuals of the Rafale fighter jets that took off from France on Monday to land at Ambala airbase today.