The five new Rafale omni-role fighter jets are now undertaking day and night practice sorties in different terrains, including the mountainous one in Himachal Pradesh, ahead of their formal induction ceremony at the Ambala air base towards the end of this month, reports TNN.
Trouble for the Chinese
Sources said the five Rafales, which will take a couple of months to become fully operational after having touched down at Ambala on July 29, are likely to carry out “similar training sorties” in Ladakh in the near future. The twin-engine fighters, however, can be combat deployed if required in an emergency during the ongoing military confrontation with China.
Best among equals
All the 36 Rafales, under the Rs 59,000 crore deal inked with France in September 2016, will be delivered by end-2021. Armed with their ‘Meteor’ air-to-air missiles (120-150 km strike range), ‘Scalp’ air-to-ground cruise missiles (over 300 km) and other armaments, they will be able to outgun their Pakistani and Chinese rivals like F-16s, JF-17s and J-20s.