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Tracking Rafale: From France to Ambala air base - Meet the braveheart pilots who will bring the 'beasts' home

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)

(Photograph:Others)

Dedicated tanker support from French Air Force

The IAF said air-to-air refuelling has been planned during the first leg of the ferry which will be undertaken by dedicated tanker support from French Air Force. The aircraft is likely to reach Air Force Station Ambala on July 29. (Photo Courtesy: IAF)

(Photograph:Others)

The Golden Arrows

"The Golden Arrows", is being raised at Ambala for the Rafale aircraft. (Photo Courtesy: IAF)

(Photograph:Others)

Flown by the best pilots in the world

The IAF said the "superb flying machines are being flown by the best pilots in the world". (Photo Courtesy: IAF)

(Photograph:Others)

Rafale fighter jet in India

They will refuel midair several times on the way and also make a stopover in Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates. 

After travelling over 7,000 kms, the jets will stop at UAE to refuel.

"Delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for a training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021," the Indian embassy said.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Rafale's land safely at Al Dhafra airbase to refuel

"The Golden Arrows" squadron is being raised at Ambala for the Rafale aircraft. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Rafale to arrive at Air Force Station, Ambala

"The aircraft are likely to arrive at Air Force Station, Ambala, on July 29 subject to weather condition," the IAF said. 

The Indian ambassador to France thanked the French government and Dassault aviation at the Merignac facility while conveying India’s appreciation for timely delivery of the Rafale fighter jets. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Accompanied by two A330 Phenix MRTT refuelling planes

The supersonic jets are being  accompanied by two A330 Phenix MRTT refuelling planes from the French Air Force, one of which is carrying 70 ventilators, 100,000 test kits and a team of 10 health experts to support India in its fight against COVID-19, according to the French defence ministry.

Delivery of the Rafale jets -- 36 of which were ordered by India in September 2016 -- officially began in October but the planes stayed in France for training of the pilots and mechanics.

Delivery should be complete by 2022.

(Photograph:AFP)