India brings in first 5 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft into service

3 Dassault Rafale fighters, part of the 5 recently inducted by the Indian Air Force. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the first five (5) Dassault Rafale 4.5-generation fighter aircraft it acquired from France, during ceremonies held at Ambala Air Base on 10 September 2020.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and French Defence Minister Florency Parly led the ceremonies attended by several high officials of the Indian military. The induction event also led to a bilateral meeting between the French and Indian defense ministries.

The aircraft were assigned with the IAF's 17 Squadron "Golden Arrows", which previously operated MiG-21 fighters before the squadron was inactivated in 2016.

Minister Rajnath Singh mentioned during the event that these new Rafale fighter aircraft would be used to strengthen their defense especially near borders where tensions are ongoing, refering to the common border between India and China in Ladakh.

The Dassault Rafale fighters are currently India's most modern fighter aircraft in service, and plans to purchase more units are planned.

The Indian government signed a government-to-government deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft worth INR590 billion (US$8.95 billion), signed on September 2016.

The first five Rafale fighter aircraft arrived in India on 27 July 2020, after flying from the French city of Bordeaux to India's Ambala Air Base after stopping over in Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

The IAF is continuing the modernization of its fighter fleet, as the Indian government continues its plans to acquire more than  100 new fighters, while ordering more locally-made Tejas light fighters and license-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI, and awaiting another separate order of 21 MiG-29 fighters from Russia.

These new fighters will replace most of the IAF's older Soviet-era fighters including the recently retired MiG-27 Flogger, and the upgraded MiG-21 Bison.

[1] India Today

[2] Times of India
India brings in first 5 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft into service India brings in first 5 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft into service Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on September 13, 2020 Rating: 5

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