The Birds have landed safely in Ambala: Rajnath Singh welcomes home Golden Arrows
New Delhi, July 29: The first batch of five Rafale fighters have landed at the Ambala airbase. The fighter jets earlier entered the Indian airspace at about 1.30 pm and were greeted by an Indian Navy warship, INS Kolkata, deployed in the western Arabian Sea.
The Rafales reached Ambala, their home base, at around 3.10 pm. They will officially be inducted into the Gloden Arrows No 17 squadron of the IAF.
Defence Minister Rajnath has confirmed that the five Rafales have landed at the Ambala airbase. He tweeted: "The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch down of Rafale combat aircraft in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircraft will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC.
"I congratulate the IAF on a professionally executed ferry. I am sure that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live upto their motto of "Udayam Ajasram". I am extremely happy that IAF's combat capability has got a timely boost,'' Singh 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-19 pandemic,'' Defence minister said.
''The Rafale jets were purchased only because PM Shri Narendra Modi took the right decision to get these aircraft through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France after the long-pending procurement case for them could not progress. I thank him for his courage and decisiveness,'' he said.
''This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country,'' Singh also said.
''The Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled. I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity: Rajnath Singh further said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's office said the Rafales are escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKIs after they entered the Indian air space. The jets were also refuelled mid-air from a French tanker at a height of 30,000 feet.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria received the fleet at Ambala. The Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades, and they are expected to significantly boost the Indian Air Force's combat capabilities.