Rajnath Singh to take a sortie in the first Rafale

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (PTI Photo)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake a sortie in the first Rafale combat aircraft that is to be handed over to India next week by France.

Singh along with Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora, Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force and other Defence Ministry officials will leave for France on Sunday. Besides attending the hand-over ceremony on Oct 8, Singh will also have an interaction with his French counterpart.

The first aircraft is a two-seater trainer version that will have the initials RB painted on its tail. This is an acknowledgement of the contribution made by Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who spearheaded the Rafale negotiations.

Flying in the French combat aircraft will mark a huge political score for the veteran BJP leader as the saffron party overcame a bitter political campaign on the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal in the run-up to the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

Two weeks ago, Singh scripted history by becoming the first Indian Defence Minister to fly in the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft in Bengaluru.

After the 30 minute sortie, the minister said described his experience of flying in the back-seat of the fourth-generation aircraft as “thrilling and special”.

Last month, IAF revived one of its most decorated units – the 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) - to fly India's first fleet of Rafale combat aircraft. The first squadron of Rafale would be based at Ambala, while the second unit would be at Hashimara on the east.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)