Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
On 29th July 2020, the first batch of the famous ‘French-made’ Rafale jets landed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana. Air Chief Marshall RKS Bhaduria, welcomed the medium, ‘multi-role combat aircraft. Ordered and agreed upon 6 years ago, the birds finally arrived at the Ambala Base, all the way from an airbase near Bordeaux in France.
However, over the past 4-5 years, these Rafale jets have been surrounded by several controversies. The arrival of the jets managed to further publicize itself to the masses due to the ongoing tensions between China and India.
What is Rafale?
The Rafale is a French fighter aircraft built by a company called Dassault Aviation. It has a wide range of weapons and is used in airstrike missions.
Rafale literally meaning “gust of wind” in French.
Why was the Rafale deal in the news?
In 2016, France and India signed an Inter – Governmental agreement on the ‘supply of’ 36 Rafale jets. Five months after this, in February, the Indian Air Force rejected an RTI (Right to Information) which enquired about the cost and price of the jets. The IAF did so as they considered the information to be confidential and replied that ‘public revelation of the same may lead to its subsequent availability to our adversaries’
Another issue was that India had a choice between the Rafale Jet and the Euro Fighter, both of which fulfilled the needs of the IAF. Despite this, the Rafale Jets were finalised upon even though they were more expensive than the Eurofighters. Due to this, parties were blamed for ‘crony capitalism’ and other allegations as well, which now lay rejected.
The arrival of the first batch of the Rafale jets now makes India the largest importer of arms in its endeavour to ‘modernise its military.’ A particular clip of the jet’s mid-air refuelling went viral as the video showcased how the air-to-air refuelling took place at 30,000 feet.
The Indian Navy too, warmly welcomed the jets in a ‘typical military-style chat’. INS Kolkata, which was situated in the Western Arabian sea, got in touch with the Indian Pilot who was leading the group of Rafale jets and wished them the best.