Five Indian Air Force Rafale operated by Indian Air Force pilots took off Monday from Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility (photo) to ferry to Ambala Air Force Station for entering service in N°17 Squadron “Golden Arrows”.
The aircraft flew out from the Merignac airbase in the French port city of Bordeaux to cover a distance of nearly 7,000 km with air-to-air refueling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before arriving at Ambala airbase today.
After a complete training of Indian pilots and technicians by Dassault Aviation, with the French Air Force participation, the Indian Air Force will fully perform this first ferry, including an air-to-air refueling, with the dedicated support of the French Air Force.
Together with His Excellency Shri Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of the Republic of India in France, Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, congratulated the Indian Air Force team present in France since almost 3 years, for successful management of the program.
He also complimented the trainees who joined for more than a year on their outstanding ability to master the aircraft. The whole attendance then saluted the departure of the Rafale.
“I am strongly impressed by the amazing efficiency and determination of the Indian Air Force and Indian Ministry of Defense, despite this unprecedented world health crisis, to master rapidly all aspects of the Rafale for comforting Indian sovereignty and contributing to the protection and security of Indian people,” stated Eric Trappier.
“This new milestone illustrates once again the exemplary cooperation between Dassault Aviation and the Indian Air Force, started in 1953, and reasserts our total commitment to fulfill Indian Air Force requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India’s ambitious vision for the future”.
This first ferry testifies that the program is running smoothly and that deliveries are on time in spite of COVID-19 pandemic.
It initiates the induction of the Rafale in the Indian Air Force, in the frame of the contract of 36 aircraft, and paves the way to fulfill the present and future needs and requirements of the Government of India.
Dassault Aviation aircraft have been an integral part of Indian defense forces for over six decades. The first Dassault Aviation aircraft, Toofani was supplied to India in 1953, followed by the Mystere IV, the naval Alize, the Jaguar (manufactured under license by HAL), and the Mirage 2000. These aircraft have contributed to Indian sovereignty all along and the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft continues to be the IAF’s ‘cutting edge’ till date. 36 Rafales fighter aircraft has been acquired on September 23rd 2016 to equip the Indian Air Force.
With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets, military drones and space systems.
In 2019, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €7.3 billion. The company has 12,750 employees.