The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly raised the second Rafale squadron, the 101 ‘Falcons of Chhamb and Akhnoor’, in Ambala, India.
According to The Times of India (TOI) report, the 101 Squadron with five Rafales will be based at the next Main Operating Base (MOB) Hasimara, West Bengal.
In September 2016, India signed a contract with France for 36 twin-engine Rafales for the IAF.
Of the 36 jets, six will be trainers while the remaining 30 will be fighter jets.
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.
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The remaining 13 Rafales are expected to be delivered by April next year.
IAF was quoted by TOI as saying: “The formal ceremony for the 101 Squadron, which had earlier been ‘number-plated’ with the retirement of its old MiG-21 fighters, in Hasimara has been slightly delayed due to the Covid pandemic but it will happen within a month or so.”
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.