The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday formally inducted the second squadron of Rafale jets at West Bengal’s Hasimara airbase in Eastern Air Command (EAC).

The event included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale to Hasimara, followed by a traditional water cannon salute.

“The induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the eastern sector,” said Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at the ceremony.

Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron, which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, Bhadauria urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform.

He said that he had no doubt that the squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.

Hasimara is the second IAF base to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at Ambala Air Force station.

Delivery of Rafale jets

India has so far received 26 Rafale aircraft out of the 36 it has ordered from Dassault Aviation, minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt said Wednesday.

“The delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft is proceeding as per schedule. As on date, a total of 26 aircraft have been accepted and ferried to India,” Bhatt said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

The multi-role Rafale jets, built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are known for air superiority and precision strikes.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of 59,000 crore.

The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The Rafale jet is 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.

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