India will officially induct Rafale jets into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on September 10 at the Ambala airbase in Haryana. The event is expected to be attended by French defence minister Florence Parly.
Defence sources told ANI that the induction event would be held after the return of defence minister Rajnath Singh from Russia where he is scheduled to attend the meeting of the defence ministers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from September 4 to 6.
“The Rafale aircraft induction ceremony would be held on September 10 with the defence minister as the chief guest. The French defence minister is also being sent an invite to attend the event to mark the strategic friendship between India and France,” sources said.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, with increased India-China tensions, Rafale jets were widely reported to have been rehearsing night flying in the mountainous region with its Meteor BVR (beyond visual range air-to-air missile) and SCALP ATG (air-to-ground missiles).
Out of the 36 Rafale jets, five of them landed in India recently which will resurrect the Number 17 Golden Arrows squadron of the Indian Air Force. The rest is supposed to be delivered by 2022. When all the 36 Rafale jets are delivered, it will take it to 32 squadrons, still well below the 42 squadrons of the sanctioned strength.