Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday welcomed the five Rafale fighter jets and its pilots that landed at the Ambala Air Force base around 3.14 pm amid unprecedented security. He was accompanied by Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C), Western Air Command Air Marshal Balakrishnan Suresh and other IAF officers.
The jets that took off from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on July 27 covered a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, the IAF shared a post along with a video highlighting the moments after the touchdown of the Rafale jets at the Ambala airbase. The 54-second long video shows the Rafale jets, initially black speck against the blue sky, heading towards the Ambala airbase.
'Golden Arrows' reach home!
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and AOC-in-C WAC Air Marshal B Suresh welcomed the first five IAF Rafales which landed at Air Force Station Ambala earlier today. #IndianAirForce #Rafales@DefenceMinIndia @rajnathsingh pic.twitter.com/P4MDi0FWUs
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 29, 2020
The fighter aircraft then makes a historic touchdown and is accorded with a ceremonial water salute. The seven pilots who flew the aircraft are then welcomed by the IAF Chief and other officers.
The tweet read, "'Golden Arrows' reach home! Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and AOC-in-C WAC Air Marshal B Suresh welcomed the first five IAF Rafales which landed at Air Force Station Ambala earlier today."
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has called it "the beginning of a new era in our Military History". Singh shared a touchdown video of the Rafale fighter jets at the Ambala IAF airbase.
The Defence Minister took to Twitter to share the development. In a warning to Pakistan and China, Singh said ''those who want to threaten India's territorial integrity should be worried now'' while welcoming the Rafale fighters.
Singh also took a jibe at the Congress saying that the fighter jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF and the baseless allegations against the procurement have already been answered. "The Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled," he tweeted.
Lauding the Rafale fighters, he said, "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."