India's 'New Era in Military History'! Why the Rafale jets are significant to the Air Force?

India has welcomed five imported Rafale fighter jets to the country on Wednesday in a grandeur way with the unprecedented attention across the country as the nation has been watching every development surfaced around welcoming the multi-role combat fighter jets to its territory, exemplifying the significance and importance of the acquisition of the 'never- had' fleet in the Indian Air Force.

As the French- manufactured Rafale jets touched down at the Ambala Air Force base in Haryana on Wednesday, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter and said 'the touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History'.


According to the reports, the french made fighter jets, which have been considered one of the most potent combat jets globally, took off from the Merignac airbase in the French port city of Bordeaux, traveled a distance of 7,000 kilometers and landed in the Ambala Air Force base. The new fighters jets were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs jets after they entered the Indian Air Space. 

In what has become the significant acquisition to enhance the fleet of the Indian Air Force amid prevailing border tensions with both China and Pakistan, the Rafale jets, which are known for its precision strikes and air-superiority, have become India's first major acquisition of the fighter jets in 23 years after the country imported Sukhoi jets from Russia. The Rafale jets have been branded as having the capability of carrying a range of potent weapons.


The arrived fleet - five fighter jets (three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft) would be inducted into the Indian Air Force as part of its Ambala-based squadron no 17, which is also known as the 'Golden Arrows'. On Monday, the government said that the country had got delivered with ten Rafale jets of which five arrived in India and five are still in France for training missions. 

On September 23, 2016, the ruling Modi government has signed an agreement with the French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation to procure 36 Rafale jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. While ten jets have been ready to enhance the security of the Indian airspace, the government said all the 36 fighter jets will be completed by the end of 2021. According to the government, the formal ceremony of welcoming and inducting these five jets into the Air Force will be held in the second week of August.

The event will be attended by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and senior officials. The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be based at Ambala Airbase, which is around 220 kilometers from the India-Pakistan border and the second squadron of the Rafale jets will be based at Hasimara base in West Bengal and with the view of stationing the brand new jets, the Indian Air Force has spent around Rs 400 crore to install the adequate infrastructure at the two bases like hangers, shelters, and maintenance facilities.


The reports stated the fleet landed at the Al Dhafra airbase on Monday in the UAE after covering over seven hours of flying from France. It has landed in the UAE as a stopover and it airlifted towards its destination by crossing the Arabian sea. As it has flown over the Arabian sea, the Indian Navy Warship INS Kolkata, which was deployed in the Arabian Sea, welcomed the fleet and after the jets entered the Indian Airspace, they were escorted by Sukhoi fighter jets. 

Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhaduria was at the airbase and received the Rafale jets as it touched down in Ambala. The district administration has restricted taking photography of the airforce base for security reasons. According to the Indian Embassy in France, the Rafale jets were refueled mid-air by a French tanker at a height of 30,000 feet, ahead of landing in the UAE's base near Abu Dhabi. Upon the arrival in Ambala Air Force base, the fighters jets received water salute and the Indian Air Force Chief has greeted the pilots who drove the jets to India from France.

Nicknamed as 'Game-changers', the significant welcome of the Rafale jets has pictured the hope of the Indian Air Force in strengthening its air fleet to deal with the adversaries in the neighborhood and beyond. The reports say the Rafale jets will attain a certain and vital role in the Indian Air Force after it took charge of the Indian skies as these jets have been described as the capable ones of exceeding China's Chengdu J-20 fighters and Pakistan's F-16 and JF-17 jets, which would give India a major breakthrough in its Defense corridors. 

The air-to-air and the air-to-ground striking capabilities equipped in the Rafale jets won't be matched or equated with the similar jets in Pakistan and China as India's latest fleet would outrun both the neighborhood rivals. The french made Rafale jets have landed with notable capabilities and deadly weapons package, radars, electronic warfare systems which would prevent the attack from the adversaries and also capable of superior survivability in the war-raged airspace. The engines of the jets have the capability for unhindered start from the high altitude regions like Ladakh. The Rafale jets are also equipped with the 'Meteor' air-to-air missiles which Pakistan and China don't have in their fleets.