A second batch of three Rafale fighter jets arrived at Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat on Wednesday evening after flying non-stop from France, taking the total number of aircraft in the fleet to eight, officials said. The first batch of five Rafale jets reached India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
"Second batch of IAF #Rafale aircraft arrived in India at 8:14 pm on 04 Nov 20 after flying non-stop from France," the IAF said in a tweet. The first batch of Rafale jets was inducted into the IAF on September 10.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on October 5 said that the induction of all 36 Rafale jets will be completed by 2023. The Rafale jets, known for air-superiority and precision strikes, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The newly inducted fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a bitter border row for over five months.