Second Squadron Of The Dassault Rafale Jets To Be Raised In Bengal

Second Squadron Of The Rafale Jets To Be Raised In Bengal
Rafale combat aircraft / Source: Republic World

New Delhi– The Indian Air Force is all set to raise a second squadron of the Rafale combat jets in mid-April, and PTI reported Thursday that official sources said this lot will be based at the Hasimara air base in West Bengal.

India is expecting more Rafale jets from France in the coming months. The new squadron, which comprises about 18 jets, is expected to be raised at the next main operating base in Hasimara.

The first squadron of the jets is stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana. The first ever batch of Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, about four years after the Indian government signed an agreement with France to procure 36 of the Rafale jets for Rs 59,000 crore. The fleet was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force in a special ceremony held on September 10, 2020, at the Ambala air base.

A second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3, while a third batch of three more jets joined the IAF on January 27.

The Dassault Aviation made Rafale jets are a major step towards modernization of India’s air fleet. They are our first big fighter plane acquisition in 23 years, last being the import of Sukhoi jets from Russia.

The Rafale jets are said to have the capability of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.

The IAF is also procuring a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system Hammer to integrate with the Rafale jets.

Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range), originally designed and manufactured for the French Air Force and Navy, is a precision-guided missile developed by French defence major Safran.

Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.