The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted Rafale aircraft into 101 Squadron of the Eastern Air Command (EAC) at the Hasimara Air Force Station (AFS) in the state of West Bengal, India.

The induction ceremony took place on 28 July in the presence of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.

The 101 Squadron is the second Indian Air Force squadron to be equipped with the Rafale aircraft. This squadron is titled 101 ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’.

In September last year, the IAF formally inducted the first five Rafale multi-role aircraft at Ambala Air Force Station in India.

These jets are now part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron, fully operational at the Ambala airbase with its full complement of 18 fighters.

Addressing the members at the Hasimara AFS, Bhadauria said that the induction of the Rafale jets at Hasimara was carefully planned.

The 101 Squadron was formed in 1949 at Palam and has operated Su-7, MiG-21M, and other aircraft in the past. The squadron actively participated during the Indo-Pakistani wars that took place between 1965 and 1971.

In September 2016, India signed a contract with France for 36 twin-engine Rafales for the IAF.

Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft that can carry out a wide range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks.

Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, the aircraft was developed for the French Navy and French Air Force.

The jets are equipped with long stand-off weapons such as the over 300km range Scalp air-to-ground cruise missiles and Meteor air-to-air missile.