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India to raise second Rafale fighter jet squadron in April

Dassault Rafale fighter jet - Indian Air Force (Dylan Agbagni/Flickr)
March 18, 2021

The ongoing race of development and modernization in the Indian defense market has put forth major events of acquisition and induction of weaponry platforms in service, which turned out to be a crucial power shifting move by India in recent months in south Asia. Now, in a similar move, the Indian Air Force is going put a heat mark against China in the Eastern frontier.

Soon, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will raise its second squadron of the Dassault Rafale fighter jets in mid-April in West Bengal state, close to the Indian border with Bhutan and near Chinese territory beyond the line.

Dassault Rafale is an omni-role fighter jet designed and developed by France’s Aerospace giant Dassault Aviation. It’s a 4.5 generation fighter in its current upgraded model and hailed as an omni-role fighter. The jet is in operation with nations like Qatar and Egypt, while it forms the backbone of the French Air Force. Rafale has solid combat history, with various strike missions over Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

Dassault Aviation-made Rafale fighter jets will be a component of the new squadron in eastern region and they will be inducted at the Hasimara Air Force Station in the Alipurduar district of the state, according to ANI.

IAF already commissioned the first squadron of Rafale combat jets in Ambala Air Base at Western command, comprised of five fighter aircraft on September 10 last year after the transcontinental flight to the home base from France in July. The fighters are a part of the ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron and near the western border facing Pakistan.

The ongoing Rafale induction is part of a 36 fighter jet deal made in September 2016 between India and France under a government-to-government agreement worth 7.8 billion euros, with delivery scheduled between 2019 to 2022.

Rafale jets are consolidating assets for IAF, being the most advanced inventory currently in the force. Rafale, at its latest upgraded variant, has capabilities that outmatch Pakistan’s JF-17 and F-16. IAF largely operates Russian-designed Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG for its frontline operations, and the addition of Rafales Indian fighter fleet will significantly enhance its operational and deep strike ability.