Aero India 2019: 3 Rafale fighter jets land in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: Three Rafale fighter jets landed in a row on Wednesday evening at the Air Force Station in Yelahanka ahead of the 12th edition of Aero India 2019.

The Rafale jets have certainly built up the tenor for the five-day show that will be inaugurated on February 20. An IAF officer at the air base said that the three aircraft landed around 6:30pm. He also added that several Indian and foreign planes would soon arrive over the next few days.  The Rafales are special to India for more than one reason. The Indian government has signed a contract to purchase 36 Rafales from their maker, Dassault Aviation.

The IAF's own arsenal of Mirage-2000s, MiG-21s and a vintage Dakota have already arrived. A briefing and familiarisation of the air space will be held on February 15 after which the metal birds will start practising for the air spectacle.The full dress rehearsal will be held on Monday, down to the VVIP arrivals two days later.

The skies over NH7 and Yelahanka will be roaring for the next few days said sources close to the department.About nine nautical miles further up (about 16 km by road), civil air traffic restrictions will come into force at the Kempegowda International Airport from February 14 to 24. In January, the airport announced that the runway would be partially closed to accommodate aerial displays.

The Ministry of Defence, which organises Bengaluru's international air show every odd year, lists 61 aircraft that have been booked for flying or static display. Among them are the aircraft of the IAF, those being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., DRDO-ADA, CSIR-NAL. US company Boeing will be bringing in civil and military planes, Europe’s Airbus 330-900neo and an entry from Ukraine are also going to be a part of the show.

Rafales  have been in the spotlight over the mechanism of the September 2016 contract as also its offsets or benefits accruing to Indian industry. The first Rafale that is being customised for the IAF is due to be delivered in September this year, and the full lot by 2022.

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