Indian Air Force to deploy Rafale jets in Ambala, Hashimara
New Delhi- With a view to positioning its most modern fighter jets on both the fronts, Indian air Force will deploy one each squadron of the Rafale combat aircraft at its airbase in Ambala in Haryana and Hashimara in West Bengal.
“The first Rafale would be handed over to the Indian air Force in September 2019, but it would be required to undergo intensive 1,500 hours of testing to validate the India Specific Enhancements on it. So, the first batch of the four Rafale fighter planes would arrive at Ambala around May 2020”, senior IAF officials said.
Infrastructure for housing both the squadrons has been completed at both the bases.
In September 2016, India signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over Euro 7.8 billion to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts.
The plan to deploy one squadron of the planes at the Saraswat air base in Uttar Pradesh did not work due to land acquisition issues.
Ambala base has been housing Jaguar aircraft squadrons mainly looking after the Pakistan front but due to rapid deployment capabilities, the planes can br utilized on both the fronts in case of requirement.
The Hashimara air base in West Bengal is close to the China border and was home to the MIG 27 fighters which were being phased out now.