Five Rafale jets were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday at the Ambala airbase. The induction ceremony of the Rafale jets was attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly. It was also attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and defence secretary Ajay Kumar.
In fact, the second batch of four to five Rafale jets is likely to arrive in India by November.
Traditional ceremonial induction of fighter jets
A traditional ‘sarva dharma puja’ and a ceremonial ‘water cannon salute’ to the Rafale jets marked their induction into the 17 Squadron of the IAF. Additionally, the Air Force pilots displayed the various breathtaking manoeuvres of the fighter jets.
In a tweet, the IAF welcomed the “new bird” into its arsenal.
The Rafale jets, produced by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air-superiority and precision strikes.
Fighter jets reached Ambala on July 29
After completing a 7,000 km journey, five Rafale fighter jets reached the Ambala airbase on Wednesday afternoon. The Rafale fighter jets reached India two days after the contingent flew out of France, with a stop in UAE.
In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had welcomed the fleet by posting a Sanskrit shloka on his Twitter account.
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Similarly, the defence minister t0o gave a grand welcome to the fighter jets as they touched down Indian territory.
The fleet consisting of three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft was escorted by two Sukhoi 30 fighter jets as they entered the Indian airspace.
Rafale is a major acquisition in over two decades
Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter aircraft after over two decades. It is expected to significantly boost the capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
Notably, the fighter jets have been delivered after four years of the inter-governmental agreement between Indian and France to supply 36 Rafale jets to India under a Rs 59,000 crore deal.
36 Rafales to be delivered by 2021-end
Out of the 36 aircraft, 10 aircraft have been already delivered by France. While five aircraft have reached India, five have stayed back in France for the training of IAF pilots. In fact, the delivery of the 36 aircraft will be completed by the end of 2021.
“Delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for a training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021,” the Indian embassy in Paris had said.
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