Rafale news: Finally, the wait is over as the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets has formally been inducted to Indian Air Force (IAF) as part of the 17 Squadron at Ambala Air Force Station today. The ceremony is taking place more than a month after the five Rafale fighter jets were flown in by Indian Airforce Pilots from France to India on July 29. These technologically advanced potent fighter jets will now be part of 17 Squadron also known as Golden Arrows. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly are attending the key event. The Air Force has stated that Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria are also “present to mark a very important milestone in the history of the IAF”.
India inked an inter-governmental deal with France in September 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets worth Rs 59,000 crore. Five jets have arrived and the next batch of the aircraft is likely to arrive in October this year. The last batch will reach by end of 2021. The five jets have been undergoing several processes to become operationalize as early as possible. The pilots and groundcrew underwent comprehensive training on the aircraft. The rigorous training includes highly advanced weapons systems.
Apart from the French Minister of the Armed Forces Parly, the French delegation of France’s ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of Air Staff of the French Air Force, and chief executive of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier are attending the event. French company Dassault Aviation manufactures Rafale jets.