IAF to induct Rafale jets at Ambala tomorrow in presence of French defence minister

(File photo)

New Delhi (NVI): The five Rafale fighter aircraft that arrived in India in July, will be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force in a ceremony at Ambala Air Force station tomorrow, that will be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly.

The Rafale fighter jets will be inducted into IAF’s ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

During the ceremony at Ambala, French defence minister Florence Parly will be given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on arrival. The program will include ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’, Air Display by Rafale and Tejas aircraft as well as by ‘Sarang Aerobatic Team’, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The programme will culminate with the ceremonial induction of Rafale aircraft to 17 Squadron. After the ceremonial events, the Indian and French delegation will have a bilateral meeting, the ministry added.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO along with other senior officers of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces will also be present.

The French delegation will be represented by Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of the Air Staff of the French Air Force and other senior officials. A large delegation of senior functionaries of French Defence Industries which includes Eric Trappier Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation and Eric Beranger, CEO, MBDA will be present during the ceremony.

Earlier on July 29, the first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India, four years after signing a contract with the French government to procure 36 aircraft for Rs 59,000 crore.

The next batch comprising of 3 to 4 Rafale jets is expected to reach Ambala from France in October, followed by a third batch in December, the officials said, adding that, all deliveries will be completed by the end of 2021.

Of the 36 Rafale jets, 30 are fighter jets and six will be twin-seater trainers. They are expected to have nearly all the features of the fighter jets.

The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed at the Ambala airbase, while the second will be based at Hasimara base in West Bengal, according to the reports.

India’s new Rafale fighters will significantly enhance the offensive capabilities of the air force with their advanced weaponry, high-tech sensors, superior radar for detection and tracking of targets and ability to carry an impressive payload.

-RJV/ARK