The second batch of three Rafale fighter jets will reportedly arrive at the Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat instead of Ambala airbase in Haryana. The Indian Air Force will now have eight of the 36 Rafale jets in operation.
The first batch of five Rafale jets of the 36 ordered by the IAF reached the Ambala airbase on July 29 after a stopover at the Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE. Incidentally, the Al Dhafra airbase falls near the Strait of Hormuz where Iran had staged mock drills on a fake aircraft carrier and launched three missiles, while India’s Rafale’s were present.
“The three jets will not have a stopover on their way. They will be refueled by French and Indian tankers during the journey. The jets are expected to reach Ambala after a one-day break at Jamnagar,” the officials told Hindustan Times.
According to the Indian government sources, the delivery of all 36 aircraft would be completed as per schedule by 2021-end. The second squadron would reportedly be stationed at West Bengal’s Hasimara.
The Indian air force is expecting to receive three to four Rafales every two or three months till all 36 jets are delivered, making the first squadron fully ready by 2021-end and the second by 2023.
The No. 224 Squadron of the IAF is a Ground Attack squadron based at Jamnagar AFS. Recently, to boost defenses along the China-Pakistan border, the Gujarat government decided to allot 1400 sq m land for a new radar system at Jamnagar Air Force Station.
Jamnagar is home to various refineries and industries. It has the world’s largest oil refining and petrochemicals complex and also the second-largest private refinery in India. A modern radar system will not only enhance the nation’s defenses but will assist in defending these critical installations.
Jamnagar has base stations of all three wings of Defence: the Indian Air Force, Indian Army, and Indian Navy. Jamnagar supports all branches of defense, as it has access to the sea for the Indian Navy and a large airbase due to the city’s critical location.