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India Gets its 1st Rafale Jet on IAF Day

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India Gets its 1st Rafale Jet on IAF Day

Indian Air Force welcomes its first Rafale jet after a procurement process of 15 years. On Tuesday, 8th October 2019, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took at sortie in the combat aircraft at the receiving ceremony, on the Indian Air Force Day on 8th October 2019. This day was officially started in the year 1932 to increase the awareness of Indian Air Force in any organisation of the national security both officially and publicly.

Indian Air Force or “Bhartiya Vayu Sena” is a crucial arm of the Indian Armed forces. The day is a celebration for the inception of the Air Force in India to aid the Army that was fighting on the land. All three of the Indian Armed Forces Chiefs come together to attend the celebration including the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy. The celebration includes a visual of air shows and parades conducted by the air force cadets in air force bases all across the nation. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has key responsibilities of winning the air war, securing the Indian airspace and supporting the army on land.

The celebration, this year is special as the Rafale has been handed over the French government to India. The first aircraft will arrive in India in May but a batch of four Rafale jets will be dispatched to the Ambala air base after training pilots. The IAF has been a fundamental and essential part of the defence system of the nation along with Navy and Army and has helped the country in winning various wars. IAF’s first flight was formed on 1st April 1933, 86 years ago.

The ‘Royal’ prefix to the Indian Air Force is a reward of its anonymous contribution and achievement. IAF proved to be a great defence with wars fought before and after independence during the Second World War and the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971.

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The Rafale deal has been a crucial part of the Indian Air Force lately, as it was officially inked on September 2016. The direct deal includes the purchase of 36 Rafale jets from the French Government for €7.87 billion, including €3 billion of work for the Indian industry over the next 7-8 years. The country will receive 28 single-seater jets and 8 twin-seaters for training.

After becoming a part of the Indian Air Force, the jet will carry the RB series of tail numbers, named after current IAF chief RKS Bhadauria. The most essential part of the jet, the weapons, will give India the ability to engage Pakistani jets from a distance without being tracked. Its air-to-ground SCALP missile will allow the force to take down virtually any target within Pakistani Soil. The METEOR missile is the best in class air-to-air missile which can take out the enemy aircraft at a range of over 100 km.

Before its arrival in India, the jets will be flown by the Indian pilots in France air for at least 1500 hours as a part of testing. The first batch of four combat jets is expected to be ferried to India by May next year and the first squadron of Rafale fighters in India will be deployed at Ambala air base.

In future, IAF is keen to acquire at least 36 more Rafale jets as part of the deal and the infrastructure to accommodate the jets is already in place. The deal for future Rafale jets in India is expected to be costing much lesser as the India- specific enhancements have been paid for. The future deals will cost less than €6 billion and result in major offsets work for Indian industry.

Also read: 5 Trends that will revolutionize the Aerospace Industry Forever

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