Ground Report | News Desk
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday flew in the Rafale fighter jet after it was symbolically handed over to India by Dassault Aviation in Paris. The fighter sortie which lasted for less than 30 minutes flew from the Mérignac airbase of Paris.
This is second fighter sortie of Rajnath Singh in a span of a month, earlier, he flew in rare cockpit of LCA Tejas in Bengaluru. Rajnath is in Paris to receive the first batch of Rafale fighter jets set to be inducted in the Indian Air Force in the coming months. The fighter jet was flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassault Aviation.
“I hope that the strong cooperation between two important and large democracies will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability. Today marks a new milestone in the Indo-French Strategic Partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation,” Rajnath said after receiving the aircraft.
Rajnath became the first Indian minister to fly in the Rafale fighter jet which is set to soar in the Indian skies by May 2020.
The first Rafale aircraft codenamed RB001 holds initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in negotiations for the Rafale deal.
The IAF is readying a new facility at the Ambala airbase which will be home to the first Rafale squadron. The jet will provide air superiority to the IAF which is phasing out ageing MiG aircraft.