French-origin Dassault Rafale jets, for the first time known, have commenced conducting ‘familiarization’ sorties over Ladakh as tensions between two nuclear powers – India and China continues to escalate, TOI reported.
The recently acquired and inducted five Rafale fighters conducted sorties in Ladakh as IAF pilots flew the Dassault jets from Ambala to Ladakh to acclimatize themselves with the operational conditions, the TOI report added.
Earlier, there was a wide celebration after the arrival of Rafale jets from France to India. “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala,” Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh had tweeted. “The touchdown of Rafale combat aircraft in India marks the beginning of a new era in our military history.”
“This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and electronic warfare capabilities are among the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country,” Singh had stated.
Five Rafales were inducted into the No. 17 Golden Arrows squadron. This is the first western fighter to be inducted since the Sukhoi-30s came from Russia in the 90s. Rafales would join Mig-29s, Su-30MKIs, Mirage-200s and indignously developed Tejas jets to deter the Chinese Air Force.