The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the first five Rafale multirole aircraft at Ambala Air Force Station, India.
The Rafale multirole jets will be part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron.
In September 2016, India signed a contract with France for 36 Rafales for the IAF. The jets are expected to be delivered by April 2022.
Of the 36 jets, six will be trainers while the remaining 30 will be fighter jets. The second base of the Rafale jets will be in Hasimara in West Bengal.
In July, five IAF Rafale aircraft left Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility in France and were received by Ambala Air Force Station.
Chief guests for the ceremony were Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly.
The ceremony was also attended by delegates from India’s defence research arm DRDO, IAF, Dassault Aviation and French Ambassador among others.
Singh tweeted: “Rafale, with its multi-role capabilities, can perform a variety of tasks, including air superiority missions and precision strikes against enemies.
“I am confident that the capabilities and technological edge acquired with Rafale induction will revolutionise the IAF capabilities.”
During the ceremony, a Rafale fighter jet flew over the airbase. Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKIs also participated in the flight with Rafale.
The second batch of the Rafale multirole jets is expected to arrive in India in November.
In July, IAF planned to discuss the role of Rafale fighters, focusing on the ongoing border clashes of the Indian Army with Chinese Forces, at its commanders’ conference in New Delhi.