India prepares to induct more Rafale jets: IAF team in France
New Delhi, Oct 15: A team of the Indian Air Force led by a two star officer is in France to review the progress of the Rafale project. The second batch of fighters is set to reach their home base at Ambala in the next few weeks.
The IAF is expecting three Rafale jets to delivered every two months. All the planes are likely to join the IAF fleet by the end of the year. The team in France is headed by the assistant chief of air staff (projects). The team reached France earlier this week for a review of the project.
On September 10, five French-made multirole Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force in a glittering ceremony at the Ambala air force base.
Using the occasion to send a strong message to China over the border row, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said induction of the jets was crucial considering the atmosphere being created along the frontier and that it is a "big and stern" message to those eyeing India's sovereignty
Besides Singh, the nearly two-hour ceremony was attended by French Defence Minister Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and several top executives of major French defence firms involved in the Rafale deal.
A traditional 'sarva dharma puja', a ceremonial 'water cannon salute' to the Rafale jets and an aerial drill featuring various breathtaking manoeuvres by the aircraft marked their induction into the IAF's 'Golden Arrows' squadron at the Ambala Air Force station.
"The induction of Rafale jets is a big and stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty. This kind of induction is very important for the kind of atmosphere that has been created on our borders," Singh said.
"We understand very well that with changing times, we also have to prepare ourselves. I feel proud to say that our national security has been a big priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Singh said.