First batch of 5 Rafales reaches Al Dhafra airbase in UAE on way to India from France
- The first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft on Monday took off from France for India, nearly four years after the two countries inked an inter-governmental agreement to supply 36 of the multi-role jets to the Indian Air Force under a Rs 59,000-crore deal.
- The aircraft flew out from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux and will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 km with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates before arriving at Ambala airbase on Wednesday, officials said.
- “You can call them (Rafale) both beauty and the beast,” said Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf after interacting with the IAF pilots at the airbase before they set off for India.
- In the evening, officials said all five Rafales landed safely in Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE after a sortie in excess of seven hours.
- The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, is scheduled to arrive at Ambala airbase on Wednesday when they will be officially inducted into the Indian Air Force as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the “Golden Arrows”, said an IAF official.
- “Delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021,” the Indian embassy in Paris said in a statement.
- The IAF official said the air-to-air refuelling of the aircraft will be undertaken with dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force.
- “The aircraft are likely to arrive at Air Force Station, Ambala, on July 29 subject to weather (condition),” the IAF said in a statement.
- The aircraft are expected to significantly boost the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities at a time India is locked in a tense border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
- The first Rafale jet was handed over to the IAF in October last year during a visit to France by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
- “Our air force pilots tell us that these are extremely swift, nimble, versatile and very deadly aircraft,” said Ashraf while congratulating the IAF pilots on becoming the first ones to fly one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft.
- The envoy thanked Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the aircraft, for delivering the fleet on time, the French government and the French Air Force for extending all required support.
- “This (the fleet) is going to add a great deal of air power to our defence preparedness. This is also a powerful symbol of the strategic partnership between India and France,” he added.
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier said the “new milestone” illustrated once again the “exemplary” cooperation between his company and the Indian Air Force that started in 1953.
- He said it testifies that the programme is running smoothly and that deliveries are on time notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “I am strongly impressed by the amazing efficiency and determination of the IAF and Indian Ministry of Defence, despite this unprecedented world health crisis, to master rapidly all aspects of the Rafale for comforting Indian sovereignty and contributing to the protection and security of Indian people,” the Dassault Aviation quoted him in a statement.
- The first squadron of the Rafale jets will be stationed in Ambala air base.
- In a statement, the Indian embassy said IAF pilots and supporting personnel have been provided full training on the aircraft and weapon systems by Dassault. Further batches of IAF personnel will continue the training over the next nine months.
- “India and France have a long history of cooperation in fighter aircraft, which includes India’s acquisition of French Toofanis in 1953, then Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirages,” it said.
- Official sources said the Rafale jets are likely to be deployed in the Ladakh sector as part of IAF’s efforts to enhance its operational capabilities along Line of Actual Control with China in view of the border row with the country.
- The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets
- Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
- The Meteor is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives it far more engine power for much longer than any other missile, said an official.
- Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others
- The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
- The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal. The IAF spent around Rs 400 crore to develop required infrastructure like shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases
- Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
- India began the process to buy a fleet of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in 2007 after the defence ministry, headed then by Congress leader AK Antony, cleared the proposal from the IAF.
- The contenders for the mega deal were Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russia’s MiG-35, Sweden’s Gripen, Boeing’s F/A-18s and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale.
- After a long-drawn process, bids were opened in December 2012 and Dassault Aviation emerged as L-1 (lowest bidder).
- There were lengthy negotiations between the then UPA government and Dassault on prices and transfer of technology. The final negotiations continued till early 2014 but the deal could not go through.
- During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in April 2015, both sides announced that they agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supply of 36 Rafale jets to India.
- India and France signed an Euro 7.87-billion (Rs 59,000 crore approximately) deal on September 23, 2016 for 36 Rafale jets.
- The Ambala base is considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF as the Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from it.
- Currently, the base has two squadrons of the Jaguar combat aircraft and one squadron of the MiG-21 Bison. Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh was the first commander of the Ambala base in independent India.
Lockheed Martin to Hold Virtual India Defence Suppliers Conference
- Lockheed Martin announced that it would hold its 7th edition of the annual India Suppliers Conference and Exhibition virtually. Themed ‘Making India part of the Global Supply Chain’, the 5-day conference will be started from on 27 July.
- Organized by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, the 2020 India Suppliers Conference is co-hosted with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Lockheed Martin to strengthen the supplier ecosystem in India.
- The Conference and Exhibition will be held in a virtual-only format on ‘CII HIVE’ platform this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will anchor conversations around partnership opportunities that fuel ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ Abhiyaan, strengthen India-U.S. defence industrial strategic ties, particularly ‘Make-in-India’ partnerships into the future.
- Commenting on the Conference, William L Blair, Vice President and Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India said, “We are excited to host the annual Indian Suppliers Conference and Exhibition for the seventh year running and facilitate meaningful discussions and interactions between current and prospective defence and aerospace industry partners in India. For over three decades, Lockheed Martin has been a committed member of the Indian aerospace and defence industry. We continue to contribute to industry and look forward to further strengthening the foundations of the defence ecosystem and support the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
- The Conference will provide an opportunity to the Indian Industry/Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to understand and interact with all of Lockheed Martin businesses along with their partners who are looking to source from India. It will be attended by representatives from Indian Ministry of Defence, U.S. government, Indian and Global industry leaders and participation from industry.
- The last two conferences were attended by close to 300 delegates and saw participation from around 120 companies of all sizes — large, MSMEs and start-ups.
DRDO launches ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ contest for innovators and start-ups on 5th death anniversary of former president Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam
- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched its innovation contest ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ on the 5th death anniversary of former President and noted scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam here today. Dr Kalam, also known as missile man, had the vision of self-reliance. The scheme is being launched for emerging technologies to promote the individuals & start-ups for innovation in defence and aerospace technologies in the country after the call of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
- The ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ is an open challenge to promote the innovators and start-ups of the country. The winners will be decided after due evaluation by an expert committee. Award money, up to Rs 10 lakh for start-up and Rs 5 lakh to individual category, will be given to the winners.
- Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has expressed his happiness to announce the contest for the ‘Ignited Minds’, whether innovators or start-ups. Further information will be available on DRDO website www.drdo.gov.in soon.
INA gets new Commandant
- Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi assumes charge as Commandant Indian Naval Academy.
- He took over from Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, who was accorded a warm send off, with the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony.
- Vice Adm. MA Hampiholi has the rare distinction of commanding the Naval Academy twice, albeit at different locations and in different ranks – previous one was as Commanding Officer INS Mandovi, Goa from 2007 to 2009.
- Lockheed Martin announced that it would hold its 7th edition of the annual India Suppliers Conference and Exhibition virtually. Theme of this conference is:
- Making Nano-technology part of Global Supply Chain
- Making Composite Materials part of Global Supply Chain
- Making India part of the Global Supply Chain
- Making Indian Imports part of Global Supply Chain
- Annual India Suppliers Conference and Exhibition has been started from
- 27 July 2020
- 28 July 2020
- 29 July 2020
- 30 July 2020
- The Rafale aircraft flew out from the which air base in France and will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 km reaching Ambala?
- Merignac airbase
- Dijon Air Base
- Luxeuil Air Base
- Paris Air Base
- Rafale aircraft will stop at just one country on its way from France to India, which is:
- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched what innovation contest on the 5th death anniversary of former President and noted scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam:
- Dream to Dare 2.0
- Dare to Dream 2.0
- Kalam Innovation 2.0
- Kalam Memorial 2.0