INDIA. Mumbai: The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara, in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal, in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, Bhadauria was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev AVSM VSM, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.
Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, Bhadauria said that the induction of Rafale has been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector.
Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, Bhadauria urged the IAF personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he did not doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.
101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on May 01, 1949, at Palam, New Delhi. It was resurrected in June this year, with 5 Dassault Rafale in Ambala. The squadron was commissioned in its designated base in Hasimara on July 28, 2011. It has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7, and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
India has ordered 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France. Till now the Indian Airforce has received 21 that is two-third of the planes ordered.