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IAF to induct 5 Rafale jets on July 29 from France

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The Indian Air Force will induct its first batch of five Rafale fighter jets imported from France at the Ambala airbase on July 29 if weather permits, an IAF spokesperson said on Monday.

“The IAF’s air and ground crews have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly-advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest,” said Wing Commander Indranil Nandi. A formal induction ceremony will take place next month, he said as reported by Hindustan Times on the article.

The Dassault Rafale (French pronunciation: ​[ʁafal], literally meaning “gust of wind”,[9] and “burst of fire” in a more military sense)[10] is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

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In the late 1970s, the French Air Force and French Navy were seeking to replace and consolidate their current fleets of aircraft. In order to reduce development costs and boost prospective sales, France entered into an arrangement with UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to produce an agile multi-purpose fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon. Subsequent disagreements over workshare and differing requirements led to France’s pursuit of its own development programme. Dassault built a technology demonstrator which first flew in July 1986 as part of an eight-year flight-test programme, paving the way for the go-ahead of the project. The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era in that it is almost entirely built by one country, involving most of France’s major defence contractors, such as Dassault, Thales and Safran.

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