NEW DELHI: It is a video which will send shivers down the spine of India’s enemy. As the five Rafale fighters entered the Indian air space on Wednesday (July 29, 2020), the IAF sent two Sukhoi Su-30MKIs to escort the newest combat aircraft in the country’s armoury.
The Defence Ministry tweeted an 18-second-long video showing the Sukhoi Su-30MKIs flying with the five Rafales in an arrow formation over the Indian skies. The Rafales are moving towards the Ambala Air Base in Haryana where they will be based as part of the IAF 17 Squadron, also known as the “https://zeenews.india.com/”Golden Arrows”https://zeenews.india.com/”.
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) July 29, 2020
Soon after entering the Indian air space over the western Arabian Sea, the Rafales established a contract with Indian Navy ship INS Kolkata, a stealth guided-missile destroyer. The Rafales and INS Kolkata exchanged greeting.
INS Kolkata Delta63: Arrow leader (flying Rafale), welcome to the Indian Ocean. Rafale leader: Many thanks. Most reassuring to have an Indian warship guarding seas
INS Kolkata: May you touch the sky with glory. Happy landings. Rafale leader: Wish you fair winds. Happy hunting. Over&out
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2020
The lead Rafale jet is being flown by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, who will also command the Golden Arrows Squadron.
The first batch of five Rafale jets is scheduled to land at the Ambala airbase here on Wednesday afternoon with police tightening the security around the air force station. The squadron of Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana.
The jets took off from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on Monday and will arrive here after covering a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates.
The fleet of five jets comprises three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft. Authorities have imposed prohibitory orders near the Ambala Air Force Station, banning shooting of videos and photography.
The Ambala district administration has also prohibited people from flying private drones within the three-km radius of the airbase, officials said earlier. Section 144, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in the villages adjoining the airbase, including Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjkhora.
Ambala Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma said the shooting of videos or taking photographs of the boundary wall of the airbase and its adjoining areas will remain strictly prohibited during the imposition of the prohibitory orders.
Meanwhile, the Haryana Police has set up several check barricades and police officers were seen patrolling residential localities near the airbase, making announcements over loudspeakers warning people not to stand on the rooftop of their houses to click pictures or shoot videos.
Nearly four years ago, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets under a Rs 59,000-crore deal to boost the IAF’s combat capabilities. The five Rafales are scheduled to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday, though a formal induction ceremony would be held later.
The jets will be inducted into the IAF as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
Of the 36 jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
The IAF has undertaken major infrastructure upgrades at the Ambala base for the deployment of the first Rafale squadron. Built in 1948, the airbase is located on the east side of Ambala and is used for military and government flights.