BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 P.M.) – Five French Rafale fighters entered Indian airspace this week and they were spotted alongside Russian fighters, as they are scheduled to land at an Indian military base to formally join their air forces.
According to the Times of India, the French Rafale fighters were escorted by the Russian-made jets to the Indian military base, where they were welcomed for their induction into the armed forces.
The official page of the Indian Air Force published pictures of the Rafale fighters, which it said were in Indian airspace, noting that it included five fighters and that they were accompanied by two Russian Su-30S fighters while welcoming them in the country’s airspace.
Welcome home 'Golden Arrows'. Blue skies always.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 29, 2020
In a previous report, a few days ago, the Hindustan Times newspaper said that five French-made Rafale jets are preparing to enter the service in the Indian Air Force, noting that they are scheduled to arrive at the Ambala Air Force Base in Haryana state on July 29.
The newspaper pointed out that the Indian Air Force spokesman said that these planes will enter service on the specified date if the weather conditions allow this, indicating that their crew received advanced training to pilot the aircraft that possess advanced armament systems.
The newspaper said that India is mobilizing those aircraft to be ready to operate near the Chinese border in light of tensions between the two countries.
They added that France has accelerated the delivery of Rafale aircraft to India at the request of New Delhi, noting that the first batch was sent, although it was scheduled to send only 4 aircraft.
According to the agreement between New Delhi and Paris, India is scheduled to acquire 18 Rafale aircraft by 2021, while it will obtain the remainder of the deal by March 2022, bringing the total number of aircraft to 36.