5 Rafale fighter jets formally join Indian Air Force at Ambala airbase

Updated: 10 September, 2020 11:42 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Ambala

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly, the Minister of the Armed Forces of France, were the chief guests

Rafale fighter jet
Rafale fighter jet

The Indian Air Force formally inducted the newly acquired Rafale fighter jets on Thursday at its airbase in Ambala in Haryana.

The aircraft will be part of the IAF's 17 Squadron, known as 'Golden Arrows'. It was resurrected in September last year.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly, the Minister of the Armed Forces of France, were the chief guests.

The first five Rafale aircraft had arrived in Ambala from France on July 27, 2020. The jets flew from the Merignac airbase in the port city of Bordeaux and landed for a stopover at Al Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km. A day later, they flew again and landed at the Ambala airbase.

The induction programme included the ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional 'sarva dharma puja', air display by Rafale and Tejas aircraft as well as Sarang aerobatic team.

Afterward, a traditional water cannon salute was given to the Rafale aircraft. The programme culminated with the ceremonial induction of Rafale aircraft to the 17 Squadron.

Rafale would be a game-changer in the current scenario when India is involved in border tension with China in eastern Ladakh. The aircraft will increase India's air power manifold.

Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture.

The French delegation will be represented by Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of Air Staff of the French Air Force, and other senior officials.

Rafale is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.

Further, the aircraft is armed with HAMMER missile, beyond-visual-range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, thereby increasing its ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.

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First Published: 10 September, 2020 11:00 IST

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