In a further boost for the Indian Air Force's (IAF) striking capability, three more Rafale jets arrived in India on Wednesday evening covering a distance of over 7000km non-stop. The three fighter jets landed at an IAF air base a day after the 'game-changer' Rafale made a grand debut at Republic Day flypast.
The IAF said in a tweet that mid-air refuelling for India-bound Rafale jets was provided by the UAE Air Force.
"The third batch of three Rafale aircraft landed at an IAF base a short while ago. They flew over 7000Km with in-flight refuelling. The aircraft got airborne earlier in the day from #IstresAirBase in France. IAF deeply appreciates the tanker support provided by UAE Air Force," IAF's tweet stated.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
The second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3.
The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The new fleet of Rafale jets has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh.
The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
The IAF is also procuring a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system Hammer to integrate with the Rafale jets.
(With Inputs From PTI)