New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indian Air Force will receive the third batch of at least three Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation in January, Hindustan Times reported, quoting people familiar with the development. The jets will fly from France to Jamnagar without a stopover on the way, with mid-air refuelling support provided by Indian and French tankers.

The first batch of five Rafale jets had flown into India on July 29 and officially inducted in the IAF on September 10 at the Ambala Air Base in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly. The second batch of three jets had arrived in India on November 4. 

The delivery of three jets will take the number of Rafale jets in the Indian Air Force's inventory to 11. All 36 jets are likely to be inducted in the IAF by the end of 2021. 

The Rafale jets, known for air-superiority and precision strikes, are India''s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA''s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets. 

The emergency acquisition was made primarily to check the depleting combat capability of the IAF as the number of its fighter squadrons had come down to a worrying 31 against the authorised strength of at least 42.

The inducted Rafale jets had been deployed in the Ladakh region in the wake of the border conflict with China. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja