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Grand ceremony awaits formal induction of Rafale fighter aircraft into IAF

A grand ceremony awaits the formal induction of the Rafale fighter aircraft into the Indian Air Force on Thursday, at Air Force Station, Ambala, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, being the chief guest on the occasion.

The aircraft will be part of No.17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows. The first batch of five Rafale aircraft arrived in India from France on July 27 after covering an aerial distance of about 8500 km.

A total of 36 Rafale are to be inducted into the IAF with two squadrons, the other being No101 squadron at Hasimara in the northeast.

Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Defence Secretary, Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence Research and Development and Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy along with other senior officers of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces would also attend the event, being described by the IAF a very important milestone in its history.

The French delegation will be represented by Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of Air Staff of the French Air Force and other senior officials, an IAF spokesperson said today.

A large delegation of senior functionaries from the French defence industries, which includes Eric Trappier, Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation, and Eric Beranger, CEO, MBDA, will be present during the ceremony.

Florence Parly will be presented a ceremonial guard of honour on her arrival at New Delhi. At Ambala, the program will include ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional ‘sarva dharma puja’, air display by Rafale and Tejas aircraft as well a performance by the Sarang helicopter aerobatic team.

A traditional water cannon salute will be given to the Rafale aircraft. The programme will culminate with the ceremonial induction of Rafale aircraft into 17 Squadron. After the ceremonial events, the Indian and French delegations will hold a bilateral meeting.