Merignac, October 9: Changing into combat flight gear for the ride after performing the Shastra Puja on the plane at Merignac airport, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh asserted that the aircraft will enhance the Indian Air Force combat capability massively, intended only for self-defence. Taking his first sortie, Rajnath Singh described the Rafale combat jet as “very comfortable and smooth.”
India’s air power took huge wings as the first Rafale jet moved in. Thrusting force and empowering the defence structure, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that India does not purchase arms to threaten any country but to increase its defence capabilities.
In a tweet, Rajnath Singh posted saying, “We do not purchase arms and other defence equipments to threaten any country but to increase our capabilities & strengthen our defences. The credit for the acquisition of the Rafale jets must go to PM @narendramodi. His decisiveness has greatly benefited our national security.”
Describing his sortie in Rafale as a memorable and once in a lifetime experience, 68-year-old Singh said, “I had never imagined that I would be flown at supersonic speed; a very comfortable and smooth flight during which I was able to observe the many capabilities of the jet, its air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities.”
This is not the first time, Rajnath Singh took sortie of an aircraft. On September 19, Rajnath Singh flew in the Tejas fighter aircraft from the HAL airport in Bengaluru, becoming the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA). Soon after landing, the Raksha Mantri said, “This aircraft marks a massive enhancement in the Indian Air Force combat capability but that enhancement is not for attack purposes but as a deterrent for self defence. And, the credit for this milestone goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose decisiveness has made this crucial air enhancement possible today.”
Giving a timeline for the delivery of the 36 jets acquired by India, the minister said he expects the first 18 aircraft to be delivered by February 2021, with the remaining expected by April-May 2022. While the first of 36 high-precision Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft with 13 India-specific enhancements sought by the IAF was delivered during the symbolic induction ceremony to the defence minister, the IAF now expects to get delivery of one aircraft every month. These jets will remain in France for training purposes before the first four being ferried to India in May next year. The first set of 18, the squadron intended for Ambala, are expected to be in place by February 2021 and the remaining 18 for Hasimara by May 2022.