You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

Ambala, Hasimara IAF bases being readied for Rafale jets

First squadron of fighter jets to land in Ambala station; second batch to arrive in West Bengal

Press Trust of India  |  Ambala 

Rafale jets, Rafale, Rafale fighter jets
A Rafale fighter aircraft flys during the inauguration of the 11th biennial edition of AERO INDIA 2017 at Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru (File photo: PTI)

The has initiated major infrastructure upgrade at its frontline base in for the deployment of the first squadron of the which will give greater "potency" over as these will be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and other missiles.

The government has already sanctioned Rs 220 crore to set up 14 shelters, hangers and maintenance facilities at the 78- year-old base for the whose delivery is scheduled to begin from September 2019, a senior IAF official said.

"We are creating infrastructure keeping in mind infrastructure requirement for the for next 40-50 years," the official said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media.

The base is considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the is around 220 km from it. Currently, the base has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the

Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, who passed away two weeks ago, was the first commander of the base in independent

Several teams from French defence major Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, have already visited the air force base and finalised the requirement for the first squadron of combat jets.

The IAF is also carrying out infrastructure upgrade at its base in which will house the second squadron of the Rafale jets, the official said.

In September last year, had signed a Euro 7.87 billion (approx Rs 59,000 crore) deal with the French government for the purchase of 36 Eighteen will be deployed in while an equal number of the new generation jet will be stationed in

"We are planning to put in place all required infrastructure for Rafale squadron by end of next year," said the IAF official.

The and stations will also have simulator-based training facilities for the aircrew of The IAF has already selected a batch of pilots to fly the jets and they are being given training by in France.

The Rafale squadron to be deployed in will be known as Golden Arrows which was originally based in Bhatinda and was disbanded two years ago.

The Rafale combat jets will come with various India- specific modifications including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording and infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF, which is currently down to 34 squadrons as against a sanctioned strength of 44, includes its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range of 150 KM.

Its integration on the will mean IAF can hit targets inside both and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India's territorial boundary.

First Published: Sun, October 01 2017. 14:32 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU