A dramatic video posted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter on Wednesday showed the first of five Rafale fighter jets landing at Haryana's Ambala air base, after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force.
The fleet of five Rafales, which consist of three single-seater and two twin-seater jets, will be part of the IAF's No 17 squadron, which is also known as the "Golden Arrows".
The 27-second video opens with a shot of the runway with the sound of the Rafale's powerful engines in the background.
As the seconds tick by, what appears to be a speck in the distance comes into focus and is revealed to be the fighter. The noise builds up as the plane swoops down to executes a perfect landing, kicking up a cloud of dust as it touches Indian territory.
The Touchdown of Rafale at Ambala. pic.twitter.com/e3OFQa1bZY— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
"This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and electronic warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world," Rajnath Singh tweeted shortly before the planes landed.
"Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed to our country," he added.
This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst 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.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 29, 2020
The planes, which come with India-specific modifications like Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers and infrared search-and-track systems, are expected to boost India's aerial prowess amid tensions with China and Pakistan.
The Rafale can also carry a wide range of highly effective weapons, including the Meteor air-to-air and Scalp cruise missiles.
Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria was at Ambala air base today to receive the first tranche of 36 Rafales bought from France in a Rs 59,000-crore inter-governmental deal in 2016.
The jets, piloted by IAF officers, took off from Merignac in southwest France and refueled mid-air on the way. Spectacular visuals posted by the Air Force yesterday showed the jets refueling from a French tanker at a height of 30,000 feet.