Eastern Air Command chief Air Marshal DK Patnaik on Monday took a flight in a Rafale fighter jet at Hasimara airbase in West Bengal. The Indian Air Force official said that the Rafale squadron at Hasimara has helped enhance operational preparedness in the eastern sector.
India has so far received 35 out of 36 Rafale aircraft. India had signed a deal for 36 Rafale aircraft with France in September 2016. The first batch of Rafale fighter jets reached India on July 29, 2020. Rafale aircraft were formally inducted in the year 2020.
The Rafale aircraft is India's first major purchase of fighter jets in 23 years after the purchase of Sukhoi aircraft from Russia. The Rafale aircraft is capable of carrying powerful weapons.
Of the 36 Rafale aircraft, 30 will be fighters and six will be training aircraft. The training aircraft will have two seats and will have almost all the features of a fighter aircraft.
While the first fleet of Rafale aircraft will be stationed at the Ambala airbase, the second fleet will be stationed at Hasimara airbase in West Bengal. The 17th Squadron of the Indian Air Force was re-raised in the year 2019 on September 10.
On Saturday, Eastern Air Command chief Air Marshal DK Patnaik visited the Air Force Station at Laitkor Peak on an inspection tour. During this, he was briefed about the operational capability and combat capability of the base.
Patnaik was received by Station Commander Group Captain Sandeep Singh. According to PRO Defence of Shillong, the Air Marshal also inspected different sections of the station and inquired about the ongoing works and services.