Indian Air Force formally inducted the Rafale fighter aircraft on Thursday with traditional water cannon salute at Air Force Station, Ambala. The aircraft is now part of 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”. The program included the ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’, Air Display by Rafale and Tejas aircraft as well as by ‘Sarang Aerobatic Team’.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Florence Parly Minister of the Armed Forces of France were the Chief Guest for the event. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO along with other senior officers of Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces were present to mark a very important milestone in the history of the IAF.
The French delegation was represented by Emmanuel Lenain Ambassador of France to India, Air General Eric Autellet, Vice Chief of the Air Staff of the French Air Force and other senior officials. A large delegation of senior functionaries of French Defence Industries which includes Eric Trappier Chairman and Chief Executive of Dassault Aviation and Eric Beranger, CEO, MBDA was also present during the ceremony.
Florence Parly Minister of the Armed Forces of France was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival.
The first five Indian Air Force Rafale aircraft arrived at Air Force Station, Ambala from France on 27th July 2020.