On Wednesday, the fifth batch of Rafale fighter aircrafts arrived in India flying a distance of 8,000 km from Merignac Air Base in France. The fighters flew a distance of almost 8,000 km with air-to-air refuelling support by French Air force and United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Indian Air force thanked the French and UAE air forces for their refuelling support to complete the journey.
The arrival of the new batch of the aircraft will pave the way for the IAF to raise a second squadron of the Rafale jets. The IAF did not disclose the number of aircraft that landed in India but people familiar with the development said four jets were part of the new batch. The new squadron will be based in Hasimara air base in West Bengal. The first Rafale squadron is based in Ambala air force station. A squadron comprises around 18 aircraft. India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. So far, 14 Rafale jets are operating in the IAF and the number will go up to 18 after the arrival of the new batch. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29 last.