The much-awaited Rafale Jets have finally landed in the country. And, on this occasion, we salute the brave hearts of the Indian Air Force who have been instrumental in achieving this massive feat. By Tanvi Jain

Four years since the INR 59,000-crore deal with France to procure 36 Rafale Jets was sealed, India has now finally welcomed its first batch of Rafale Jets on July 29at the Ambala Air Force Base. The Dassault built aircrafts took off from Merignac airbase in Bordeaux, France to reach India. 

Each jet was honoured with a water cannon salute in the presence of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, who along with the other top brass of the Indian Air Force, later, complimented the pilots for successfully bringing back the jets. 

“The five Rafales escorted by 02 SU30 MKIs as they enter the Indian air space,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s Office tweeted. 

The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch-down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our military history. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC,” Singh added. 

Group Captain and the Commanding Officer of the 17 squadron Harkirat Singh, Group captain R Kataria, Wing Commander Siddhu, Wing Commander Abhishek Tripathi, Wing Commander MS Singh, and Wing Commander Arun, are the brave hearts of the 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron, who made this a reality by covering a distance of 7,000 kilometres, with reportedly just 35 to 40 hours of training, and past experience of flying lesser generation aircrafts. The fleet after flying for seven hours had just one stopover at Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE 

Soon after the historic landing, the villagers (Bakwa village in UP’s Ballia district) of one of the pilots — Wing Commander Manish Singh’s  celebrated his achievement with sweets, crackers and diyas. 

Prior to the arrival of the Rafale Jets, the surrounding areas of Ambala Air Force Station were put under tight security, which included imposing Section 144 ithe adjoining villages of Baldev Nagar, DhulkotPanjkhora and Garnala. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in France confirmed the delivery of 10 aircrafts on time and said that five will stay in France for training. It also assured that all the 36 aircrafts will be delivered by the end of 2021. 

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