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IAF to induct five Rafales on July 29

A French fighter jet Rafale.

A French fighter jet Rafale.  

Amid continuing tensions on the border with China, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is scheduled to induct the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets from France at the Air Force Station, Ambala, on July 29, subject to weather conditions. The final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August, the IAF said on Monday.

Watch | Rafale review petitions dismissed by Supreme Court

“IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest,” it said in a statement.

The induction of Meteor Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile, widely recognised as a game changer for air combat, Scalp long-range stand-off attack air to ground missile, and MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles into the IAF’s inventory will give the force an edge in the neighbourhood. According to its manufacturer, MBDA, Meteor has a no-escape zone many times greater than any other air-to-air missile.

The Rafale induction and operationalisation will be on top of the agenda during the Air Force Commanders’ Conference (AFCC) to be held from July 22 to 24 with the theme “IAF in the Next Decade”.

Also read | Investigative reports by N. Ram on the Rafale deal

“During the three-day conference, the discussions would take stock of the current operational scenario and deployments. The plan of action for operational capability enhancement of the IAF in the next decade will also be discussed,” the IAF said in another statement.

As reported by The Hindu on June 30, France had on India’s request agreed to deliver one more jet in addition to the four scheduled to be delivered in the first batch. The delivery was delayed by two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The jets will make a stopover at Al Dhafra air base in United Arab Emirates (UAE) while flying from France to India.

Since the beginning of the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in early May and the combat fatalities in the Galwan clash on June 15, the IAF has raised its alert level and forward deployed its frontline fighters along the LAC. Its new induction, the AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy lift helicopters, have also been deployed in Leh.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 9:05:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iaf-to-induct-five-rafales-on-july-29/article32142405.ece

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