The long wait is finally over. The first batch of five Rafale jets which took off from France have entered the Indian air space. They will be landing at the Ambala Air Force station shortly and inducted into the ‘Golden Arrow’ squadron. Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will be receiving the first batch of five Rafale combat aircraft arriving from France at the Ambala air base about 200 km from Pakistan border.
A Navy warship welcomed the jets as they entered the Indian air space. “May you touch the sky with glory,” a Navy warship INS Kolkata said while welcoming the Rafale jets.
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Security has been stepped up in Ambala and Section 144 has been imposed in four villages close to Ambala airbase. Ambala Cantt area has been made a ‘no-drone’ area and the local administration has banned photography of Air Force Station from places such as Dhulkot, Baldev Nagar, Garnala and Panjokhara.
Local police has also made repeated announcements to advise locals against gathering on roofs and click photographs between 10 am and 5 pm.
IAF meanwhile has already placed an emergency order for HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) missiles with France to boost the capabilities of the combat aircraft. The order for the HAMMER standoff missiles with the capability to take out any types of targets at the range of around 60-70 kms is being processed on priority. Equipping the Rafale jets with HAMMER missiles would give India an edge over both Pakistan and China in terms of air strike capability.
All the pilots have been trained on the aircraft by the French Dassault Aviation company as per the agreement signed for the biggest-ever defence deal signed by India in 2016 for acquiring 36 Rafale jets worth over Rs 60,000 crore.