The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Ambala air base on Thursday. The induction is significant as it comes at a time India is engaged in an escalating border row with China in eastern Ladakh. A galaxy of dignitaries including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, his French counterpart Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar attended the ceremony. The French delegation at the ceremony included 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 Rafale jets are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 year after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presents induction scroll of Rafale fighter jets to Group Captain Harkeerat Singh, Commanding Officer, 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' of the Indian Air Force.
- We are fully committed to 'Make in India' initiative, as well as, to the further integration of the Indian manufacturers in our global supply chain: Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly.
- Today, is an achievement for our countries. Together we are writing a new chapter in India-France defence ties: Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly
- The speed at which IAF deployed its assets at forward bases creates confidence that our Air Force is fully prepared to fulfil its operational obligations: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
I would like to congratulate our colleagues of Indian Air Force today. During the recent unfortunate incident at the border, the swift and deliberate action taken by Indian Air Force near LAC shows your commitment: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
- In my recent foreign trip, I put the point of view of India in front of the world. I also made everyone aware of our resolve to not compromise our sovereignty&territorial integrity under any circumstances. We're committed to doing everything possible towards this: Defence Minister
- Rafale induction is a big & stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty. This induction is important considering the kind of atmosphere at our borders or should I say the kind of atmosphere created at our borders: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh
- France supports India’s candidacy for the UN Security Council: French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parley
- This induction could not have happened at a more opportune time considering the security scenario today: Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at Rafale induction ceremony.
- Indian Air Force’s 'Sarang Aerobatic Team' performs at the Rafale induction ceremony in Ambala.
- Indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas performs during Rafale induction ceremony, at Ambala airbase.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly witness air display of Rafale fighter aircraft flanked by SU-30 and Jaguar aircraft in arrow formation.
- The program included 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'.
- A water cannon salute was also given to the Rafale fleet before its ceremonial induction into the 17 squadron of the force.
- Ten Rafale jets have been delivered to India so far and five of them stayed back in France for imparting training to IAF pilots. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
- A second batch of four to five Rafale jets are likely to arrive in India by November.
- Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
- 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.
(With PTI inputs)