French envoy praises ‘marvelous’ IAF pilots as first batch of Rafale jets arrive in India today

French envoy praises ‘marvelous’ IAF pilots as first batch of Rafale jets arrive in India today

Rafale fighter jets.

Rafale fighter jets.&nbsp

Key Highlights

  • The IAF is boosting the combat aircraft’s capabilities by further arming it with HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) missiles from France
  • Equipped with long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles and SCALP, the Rafale jets are set to give India a huge edge over both Pakistan and China in air strike capability

New Delhi: It’s a big day for the Indian defence forces as the arrival of Rafale fighter jets from France is not only going to infuse steel into the Indian Air Force but also amplify the entire military’s might manifold.

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will receive the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets in Ambala on Wednesday around 2 pm via Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

On this momentous occasion, the French envoy to India praised Indian pilots and technicians for having completed their training in France “marvelously”.

“The planes are outstanding, Indian technicians and pilots marvelously completed their training in France. They are totally capable to use these planes at their best,” said Emmanuel Lenain, French Ambassador to India.

Once the jets land in Ambala, the pilots led by Group Captain Harkirat Singh will meet the IAF Chief and brief him about their training and flying experiences in France.

In case the weather plays spoilsport, the Jodhpur air force base has been kept as backup for the jets to land. Meanwhile, Section 144 has been imposed in four villages near the Ambala air base.

The French envoy said that it was a moment of pride for him that the first batch of the state-of-the-art fighter planes are landing in India.

“Our partnership is comprehensive. It goes from strategic, military to health. They have one thing in common. It’s for the good of our own people. They take care of their people’s security, their health, that is what matters…and that makes me very confident about the future,” he said, according to news agency ANI.

‘HAMMER’

The IAF is boosting the combat aircraft’s capabilities by further arming it with HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) missiles from France.

The HAMMER standoff missiles have the capability to take out any kind of targets within a range of around 60-70 kilometres. The order for the missiles is being processed as per the emergency powers for acquisition bestowed upon to the armed forces by the Centre.

HAMMER is a medium-range air-to-ground missile that was initially designed and manufactured for the French Air Force and Navy.

Equipped with long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles and SCALP, the Rafale jets are set to give India a huge edge over both Pakistan and China in air strike capability.

“Geopolitical situation globally is very complex. Partnerships are even more important than before and stronger the better. I think France and India are showing the way. They are exemplary,” the French envoy said when asked about the current situation with China.

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