Defence Minister Rajnath Singh To Formally Induct Rafale Jets Into IAF Today

Pic courtesy: ANI - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday will formally induct the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force in Ambala air base. The induction comes at a time when India-China are involved in an escalating border row.

The Rafale jets, known for air-superiority and precision strikes, are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. Rafales are produced by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.

Minister of Armed Forces of France Florence Parly, who is the chief guest for Rafale induction ceremony, has arrived at Delhi's Palam airport today morning.

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Other dignitaries who will attend the event are Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar. 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.

IAF Spokesperson Wing Commander Indranil Nandi said a traditional water cannon salute will be given to the Rafale fleet before its ceremonial induction into the 17 squadrons of the force, as reported by a news agency.

It may be recalled that the five jets had arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

The French delegation at the ceremony will include French envoy Emmanuel Lenain, Air Gen Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of French Air Force, Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier and CEO of missile maker MBDA Eric Beranger.

The two foreign ministers will hold talks after the ceremony in Ambala on ways to further deepen bilateral defence and security cooperation.

Out of 36 Rafale jets, France has so far delivered 10. The delivery is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. A second batch of four to five Rafale jets is likely to arrive in India by November.

The Rafale jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets. Meteor is a next-generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

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