The Indian Air Force may resume its ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron (Air Force contingent) from Tuesday, which will be the first unit to fly the much-awaited Rafale fighter aircraft. Air Force official sources said Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa will resume 17 squadrons at a function at Ambala Airforce Station on Tuesday, which is believed to be ready to receive when the Rafale aircraft arrives in the country.
The Indian Air Force is ready to welcome the much talked about Rafale aircraft. During the Kargil War in 1999, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa commanded the ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron. The squadron operated from Bathinda Air Base was closed in 2016. Then the Indian Air Force started phasing out Russian-made MiG-21 aircraft in a phased manner.
The squadron was established in 1951 and initially operated flights of Haviland Vampire F Mk 52 fighter jets.
India may get the first Rafale aircraft from France later this month. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed all formal preparations, including preparing the necessary infrastructure and training of pilots to welcome the Rafale aircraft.
Sources said that the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala Air Force Station. Ambala Air Force Station is counted among the strategically most important centers of the Indian Air Force. The Indo-Pak border is about 220 kilometers from here. The second squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be stationed at the Hasimara Center in West Bengal.
In September 2016, India signed a major agreement with France for a deal of 36 Rafale aircraft for 58 thousand crores. The Indian Air Force team has already visited France. Earlier in September last year, a 6-member team of the Indian Air Force visited the Dassault Manufacturing Unit of France. With this team, Air Chief Deputy Marshal Raghunath Nambiar also flew on the first Indian Rafale Combat Aircraft.
A senior Indian Air Force officer was quoted as saying that we will get the first aircraft in September 2019. It will be inducted into the Indian Air Force only after 1,500 hours of test flying in France. Rafale aircraft will be able to join the Indian Air Force on Indian soil for the first time in May 2020 when the first consumption of 4 aircraft will arrive here at Ambala Airforce Base. This special aircraft will be deployed at Ambala Air Force Base.