Indian Air Force started the second squadron of fighter jets with 5 jets.
Due to the Corona epidemic, the formal ceremony of starting the squadron could not be done.
New Delhi, June 21: The 2nd Squadron of Rafale fighter jets at Hashimara airbase in West Bengal are engaged in an eastern interaction with China and ready to face threats on the front.
The second squadron launched by the Indian Air Force (IAF) with five jets has been named 101 ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’.
Although the formal ceremony to launch the squadron has not been held due to the corona pandemic but is likely to take place within the next one or two months.
So far, 23 Rafale jets have arrived in India in seven consignments out of 36 under the Rs 59,000 crore deals signed with France in September 2016 out of 36 Rafale jets to be received by the IAF. There will be 30 warplanes and six training aircraft.
The first batch of five Rafale jets from the French company reached Ambala airbase on July 29, 2020. The IAF formally inducted these fighter jets into its fleet on September 10.
The missile scalp of the Rafale fighter jet has been upgraded to attack in mountainous areas amidst preparations for a ‘two front war’ on the western and eastern fronts.
However, India has launched Rafale fighter jets amid the tussle with China on the LAC and has been deployed at the front-line airbase in Ladakh.
An Air Force squadron consists of 16 fighter planes and two pilot training aircraft. The first 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron formed at Ambala for Rafale has been completed after receiving 18 jets.
The second squadron has now been started at Hashimara airbase in West Bengal with 5 Rafale jets out of the 23 aircraft that India has received so far. This second squadron of Rafale fighter jets will be responsible for the LAC from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh amid the ongoing conflict with China in eastern Ladakh.
The Hashimara air base, very close to the China-Bhutan tri-junction in the eastern region, is very close to the disputed Doklam area where the 75-day-long confrontation between the armies of India and China took place in 2017.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, while addressing the Joint Graduation Parade (CGP) organized at Air Force Academy Dundigal on June 19, had said that all 36 Rafale aircraft would be inducted into the Indian Air Force by 2022 as per the schedule. The 101 Squadron based at Hashimara Air Base previously operated the older MiG-21 fighter jets.
The Indian Air Force has named the Hashimara airbase in West Bengal as ‘101 Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’.
The 2nd Squadron of Rafale Fighter Jets faces threats on the Eastern Front with China.
Group Captain Rohit Kataria is the Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron, while Group Captain Neeraj Jhamb ‘Jamie’ is the head of 101 Squadron i.e. in the hands of these two Air Force officers will command the Rafale jet.
Hangars, shelters, maintenance facilities and infrastructure have been prepared for Rafale at both the airbases. The Hasimara airbase was built after the 1962 war with China. This airbase is close to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. Russian origin Sukhoi-30 MKIs are already deployed in Tezpur and Chabua.
So, with the deployment of Rafale at Hashimara airbase, the strength of the Air Force on the Eastern Front will increase further. The Rafale is equipped with a lethal weapon package, advanced avionics, radar and electronic warfare systems to ensure better strikes in enemy airspace.
The Rafale is also equipped with the Scalp missile, an air-to-surface cruise missile with a range of over 300 km and the Meteor air-to-air missile with a strike range of 120 to 150 km.