The first five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale fighter aircraft have successfully landed at the Air Force Station, Ambala.
The aircraft will now be a part of 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”, which was resurrected on 10th September 2019. The Squadron was originally raised at Air Force Station, Ambala on 01 Oct 1951. 17 Squadron has many firsts to its credit, in 1955 it was equipped with first jet fighter, the legendary De Havilland Vampire. In Aug 1957, the Squadron became the first to convert on to a swept wing fighter, the Hawker Hunter.
The aircraft got airborne on 27th July 2020 from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, France and reached India on 29th July 2020 with a planned stopover en-route at Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE.
The ferry was planned in two stages and was undertaken by IAF pilots. The aircraft covered a distance of nearly 8500 Kilometers from France to India. First stage of the flight covered a distance of 5800 km in seven and a half hours.
French Air Force (FAF) Tanker provided dedicated Air-to-Air Refuelling support during the flight. The second stage of the flight covering over 2700 km was carried out with Air-to-Air Refuelling by IAF Tanker.
Indian Airforce deeply appreciates the proactive support provided by the French Government and Industry in France to ensure timely delivery. The tanker support extended by French Air Force during the ferry was crucial in ensuring that the long haul flight was accomplished successfully and in a time bound manner.
A formal induction ceremony of Rafale Aircraft in 17 Squadron is scheduled to be held in the second half of Aug 2020.