The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the Dassault Rafale fighter jet in the 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ at Air Force Station Ambala. The ceremony marks Rafale’s full operational entry into IAF.
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, was in India to participate in the integration of the first five Rafales into the Indian Air Force.
#RafaleInduction— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 10, 2020
IAF has formally inducted the #Rafale aircraft in 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ today, at Air Force Station, Ambala. The ceremony also marks #Rafale’s full operational entry into IAF.
Glimpses of the Rafale in action with IAF. pic.twitter.com/WfohU5vMET
The induction took place in a context of heightened border tensions for India and its neighboring countries.
On February 26, 2019, a violent dogfight took place in Kashmir, resulting in one Indian MiG-21 being shot down by the Pakistan Air Force.
Since May 2020, several incidents broke out between Chinese and Indian troops along the Sino-Indian border, resulting in both countries increasing the military presence on each side.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the fleet of 36 Rafale fighter jets that are due to be delivered will not only be deployed at Ambala Air Force Base near the Pakistani border, but also in the Ladakh region, where the Sino-Indian border dispute takes place.
The 7,000-kilometer (4,349 miles) ferry operation from Merignac Air Base, in southwestern France, took place on July 27, 2020. It included mid-air refueling provided by the French Air Force as well as a stopover in Al Dhafra Air Base, in the United Arab Emirates, from which France operates.
As they stopped for the night in the UAE, the five fighter aircraft and their pilots came under fire, as three Iranian ballistic missiles crashed close enough for Al Dhafra Air Base to go under high alert. The visiting Indian pilots were asked to take cover. No damage or injuries were reported in the base.