IAF Golden Arrows armoury gets Rafale power

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 29, 2020 Published on July 29, 2020

The much-awaited fighter jets from France blaze through the skies to land on Indian soil

Five Rafale fighter jets landed at the Indian Air Force Ambala air base on Wednesday evening from Bordeaux, France – an acquisition that the government hopes will provide a significant boost to India’s defence capabilities.

Political attacks

The arrival of the jets, manufactured by Dassault, also symbolises the government’s successful handling of political attacks on the contours of the Rafale deal.

Tweeting shortly after the jets arrived, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “The touchdown of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF).”

These jets will be inducted in the resurrected Number 17 Golden Arrows squadron.

In what appears to be a jibe against Chinese aggression, Singh also tweeted: “Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country. I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.”

The first Rafale fighter was handed over to the IAF in October 2019 and the delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five stayed back in France for a training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

There was evident jubilation in all quarters of the government and the ruling BJP at the arrival of these jets. Indian social media was ablaze with audio-visuals of the five Rafale jets, flanked by two Sukhoi Su-30MKI, as they glided over the Indian Ocean.

These new jets are an upgrade for the IAF that has till now been restricted largely to Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets. Both the Jaguar and Mirage 2000, inducted into the IAF in the 1980s, have been declared by sector watchers as ageing fleets.

IAF gets more power

With Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter jets, the IAF will be better equipped to assist the Indian Navy. The Indian Rafale contingent first established contact with Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata when entering Indian territory. The warship is presently situated in the Western Arabian Sea.

“May you touch the sky with glory,” was the message from INS Kolkata to the Arrow Leader while welcoming the Rafales in the Indian Ocean.

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Published on July 29, 2020
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