The Indian Air Force is ready to finally induct Rafale fighter jets after the first batch of five fighters took off from Merignac base in France on Monday. The first batch of five Rafale jets will in Ambala on Wednesday when it is officially inducted at Air Force Station Ambala

The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets, which took off from a French base on Monday, will reach Ambala on July 29.

India's wait for the game-changing Rafale is over. The fighter jets are finally headed home!

The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets flew out of France on Monday and will arrive in India on Wednesday.

The fighter jets, which took off from the Merignac airbase in France's Bordeaux on Monday, will halt at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday. The aircraft will be refuelled by French Air Force tanker aircraft on their way to an airbase in the UAE before leaving for India. The fighters will then take off again for India to reach Ambala on the morning of July 29.

The five Rafale jets, which took to the skies, include the trainer RB-003 -- RB for Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, the Chief of Air Staff.

“These five Rafale jets are extremely swift, versatile and very deadly aircraft, they're both beauty & beast. I would like to thank Dassault for delivering aircraft on time and French Government & French Air Force for all the support,” said Jawed Ashraf, Indian Ambassador to France.
In a statement, the Indian embassy in France said, “Delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.”

Official sources said the Rafale jets are likely to be deployed in the Ladakh sector as part of the IAF's efforts to enhance its operational capabilities along the Line of Actual Control with China in view of the border row with the country.

Officials said arrival of the Rafale jets will further strengthen the IAF's combat capabilities.

India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. The jets will be equipped with European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and Hammer.

The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft

The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to develop required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases

Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.