05:58 GMT24 July 2021
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    New Delhi has signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over 7.8 billion euros in order to boost the Indian Air Forces (IAF), with the squadrons to be located in different parts of the country.

    IAF sources have told ANI about possible bases for new Rafale warplanes that are expected to arrive in the country soon.

    "The first unit to receive the Rafale combat aircraft would be the 17 Squadron which was earlier located in Bhatinda in Punjab and will now be shifted to Ambala in Haryana", the report suggested.

    READ MORE: Indian Army Commander Reveals Date of First IAF 'Surgical Strike' on Pakistan

    At the same time, according to the sources, another squadron of the fighter jets will be based in Hasimara, West Bengal, closer to the Chinese border, as Saraswat Air Base in Uttar Pradesh could not host the planes due to land acquisition problems.

    The 17 Squadron, known as "Golden Arrows" was commanded by Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa back in 1999 during the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan.

    The first Rafale is set to be handed to the Indian military in September 2019 but it will be required to undergo at least 1,500 hours of intensive testing in order to validate the India Specific Enhancement on it.


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    Dassault Rafale, Fighter jet, Indian Air Force (IAF), Birender Singh Dhanoa, India, France
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