At least 10 new Rafale fighter aircrafts will join the Rafale fighter fleet of India leading to the formation of the second squadron of the planes. These ten aircrafts will take the number of these planes to 21 as 11 Rafale jets are already flying with the Ambala-based 17 Squadron. The latest addition is the part of the pact signed by India and France last year after the Indian Air Force had operationalised the aircraft in the shortest possible time between July-August.
The Rafale jets in India have been deployed for patrolling the China front in East Ladakh along with other fronts when tension erupted between India and China. The new aircrafts will be stationed in Ambala and some of them would be later sent to Hashimara where the process of starting the second squadron is already in the process, ANI reported.
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. pic.twitter.com/tykLthzVlx— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 27, 2021
In September 2016, India has ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and by April end, over 50 percent of these aircraft would have arrived in the country. The IAF in the next 15-20 years is also set to get seven squadrons of indigenously developed stealth fighters Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, while orders will be placed for 114 multirole fighter aircraft that will enhance the overall capability of the IAF.
A senior government official said, "Three Rafale fighters would be arriving in India in next two to three days directly flying from France with midair refueling support by a friendly Air Force. Following that, we would be getting around 7-8 more of these fighters and their trainer version in the second half of next month. This would greatly boost our capability to carry out our missions.
The second set of Rafale jets arrived in India in November 2020 after the planes were formally indicted. These aircrafts carrying the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles have boosted the Indian fleet over their Chinese and Pakistani rivals. Moreover, the aircraft equipped with Hammer missiles have enhanced their capability to carry out air-to-ground strikes like the one in Balakot.