India gears up to welcome Rafale jets, security stepped up in Ambala

In a major boost to the India’s defence capabilities, the first batch of five Rafale jets which took off from an airbase in France on Monday, would be landing in Ambala today to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet. They will join IAF’s ‘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. The jets are expected to take off from Al Dhafra in UAE at around 11 am Indian time and land in Ambala by 2 pm, according to sources.

The Jodhpur airbase has also been kept on standby mode to receive the jets in case there is a weather issue in and around Ambala. 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.

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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.

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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.

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