First look: Rafale fighter jets receive 'water salute' at Indian Air Force base in Ambala

The five Rafale fighter jets finally landed at Ambala Air Force base in Haryana after they had taken off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, in France on Monday.

Air salute to Rafale

Water salute being given to a Rafale fighter jet after it landed at Indian Air Force airbase in Ambala in Haryana. 

Five fighter jets had taken off from  Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac in France on Monday morning and arrived in India on Wednesday afternoon.


Rafale fighter jet in India

The first Rafale fighter jets arrives in India, another four jets also landed at Ambala Air Force base in Haryana. 

The five jets include three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft. The IAF said the ferry was planned in two stages and was undertaken by IAF's elite pilots.



Rafale gamechanger

Rafale has been cleared to operate weapons like the MICA air-to-air 'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) interception, combat and self-defence missiles, the METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile, the HAMMER -- Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range -- modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series, laser-guided bombs with different warheads, and "specifics armaments" selected by some clients.


The Rafale is also fitted with 14 hardpoints, out of which five are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance.


The jet's total external load capacity is more than nine tonnes.


Rafael fighter jets

Ariel view of five Rafael fighter jets as they enter Indian airspace on Wednesday. (Photo Courtesy: IAF)


Meteor air-to-air missile

The Rafale aircraft are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of their weapons package.

Meteor is a next generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.


Golden Arrows squadron

The supersonic jets were accompanied by AA330 Phenix MRTT refuelling planes provided by the French Air Force.

India had signed an agreement for 36 Rafale fighters for its "Golden Arrows" squadron. (Photo Courtesy: Indian embassy)


Bravehearts who flew Rafales to India

With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.

It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie.

The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability. (Photo Courtesy: IAF)


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