India receives first full squadron of Rafale fighter jets

© Dassault Aviation – V. Almansa

The Squadron 17 “Golden Arrows” of the Indian Air Force received its 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets.

The last four aircraft were ferried straight from the Dassault assembly line of Merignac, France, with inflight refueling provided by Emirati and French tankers on April 21, 2021. Since their formal indictment on September 10, 2020, the Indian Rafales were delivered to Ambala Air Force Station, a strategic area near the Pakistani border where the Golden Arrows are based. 

Now that the first squadron is complete, the remaining 18 Rafales that have yet to be delivered will be received at Hasimara Air Force Station, near the Indo-Bhutan border by the No. 101 Squadron “Falcons”. The 36 fighter jets that were ordered should all be delivered by the end of 2021.

In September 2020, the Indian Air Force carried out acclimation flights over the Ladakh region. Since May 2020, several incidents had broken out between Chinese and Indian troops in the area, resulting in both countries increasing the military presence on each side of the border.

The French manufacturer Safran Aircraft Engines and the Indian aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February 2021 to study the manufacturing of components and the assembly of the M88 engine designed by Safran in India.


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