The Indian Air Force (IAF) will formally induct its new Dassault Rafale aircraft, procured from France, during a ceremony at Air Force Station Ambala in the state of Haryana on Sept 10.
The aircraft will be part of IAF’s No. 17 Squadron, nicknamed the “Golden Arrows”. The first five Indian Air Force Rafale aircraft arrived at Air Force Station Ambala from France on July 27.
The Chief Guest for the event are the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart, Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly.
The induction ceremony will also be attended by General Bipin Rawat, India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS); Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff; Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary; G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO; along with other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Armed Forces.
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 of MBDA, will also be present during the ceremony.
Minister Florence Parly will be given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on arrival at Delhi. At Ambala the program will include ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’, Air Display by Rafale and HAL Tejas fighter aircraft as well as by ‘Sarang Aerobatic Team’ flying modified HAL Dhruv helicopters.
Afterwards, a traditional water cannon salute will be given to the Rafale aircraft. 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.
IAF Rafale Procurement:
In 2016, India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition for $8.8 billion. Out of the 36 Rafales ordered for the IAF, 28 are single-seat jets, designated Rafale EH, and the remaining are dual-seat jets, designated Rafale DH.
The Air Force “technically” accepted the first Rafale, twin-seat version of the jet, during a ceremony in Bordeaux on Sept. 19. The aircraft, with tail number RB-001, was accepted by a team led by IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhari. RB in the tail number marks the role played by Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria in finalizing the deal to procure the jets in September 2016.
The Indian Air Force formally received its first Rafale aircraft during a ceremony at Dassault Aviation’s Rafale final assembly facility in Mérignac in Bordeaux, France on Oct. 8 last year. This ceremony was attended by the French Minister for Armed Forces Florence Parly and the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
As of now, the delivery of ten Rafale aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five of these aircraft will stay back in France for training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
In accordance with the contract. IAF pilots and supporting personnel have been provided full training on aircraft and weapon systems by Dassault. Further batches of IAF personnel will continue the training over the next nine months.