The first batch of five Rafale aircraft have successfully landed in Ambala today to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has tweeted that the birds have successfully landed in Ambala. He has called the touchdown of Rafale jets the ‘beginning of a new era in India’s military history. He added that these jets would revolutionise the capabilities of IAF.
The Prime Minister put out a tweet, reacting to the news.
दृष्टो नैव च नैव च।।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 29, 2020
Rajnath Singh also tweeted out a video of the Rafale landing in India. The Rafale fighters were also given water salutes upon landing.
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2020
“The Birds have entered the Indian airspace..Happy Landing in Ambala!” tweeted the Defence Minister’s Office, when the jets entered Indian airspace. “The five Rafales escorted by 02 SU30 MKIs as they enter the Indian air space,” read another tweet from the Defence Minister’s Office.
Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria is visiting Ambala to receive the first batch of five Rafale combat aircraft arriving from France. The pilots, led by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, are scheduled to meet the Air Chief and update him about their training in France.
The Rafale squadron established contact with the Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata in the Western Arabian Sea. The exchange is below:
INS Kolkata Delta63: Arrow leader (flying #Rafale),welcome to 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 https://t.co/WlEyiZTtg5
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2020
According to the latest reports, the first batch of aircraft have arrived in Ambala, where in the nearby areas Section 144 has been imposed due to the arrival of the jets.
Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to mark this occasion, and said, “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.” He went on to talk about the aircraft’s flying performance, radar sensors, and Electronic Warfare capabilities, and the advantage that they would give India over its foes.
He also called any allegations against the procurement of Rafale fighters, “baseless”, and said that they had already been answered and settled.
Amit Shah, the Home Minister, also tweeted out his support, saying, Rafale touchdown is a historic day for our vigorous IAF, and a proud moment for India! These are the world’s most powerful machines capable to thwart any challenge in the sky. I am sure Rafale will help our Air warriors to safeguard our skies with its mighty superiority.”
He thanked PM Modi for introducing an ‘unprecedented strength” to the Indian Air Force.