Hyderabad: At least 10 new Rafale fighter aircraft will be joining its fighter fleet leading to the formation of the second squadron of the planes.
The new additions would increase the number of these planes to 21 as already 11 of these planes are flying with the Ambala-based 17 Squadron. The fighter jets would be inducted at the Hasimara Air Force Station in Alipurduar district of the eastern state.
India's first Rafale squadron, comprising five jets, was inducted into the IAF on 10 September last year after being flown to the country from France in July. The fighters are a part of the 'Golden Arrows' squadron and based at the Ambala Air Force station.
On 26 January this year, one Rafale jet of the IAF was part of the flypast at the Republic Day celebrations, flying in a 'Vertical Charlie' formation, and, in the process, making its R-Day debut.
The aircraft had also been deployed for patrolling along the China front in eastern Ladakh and other fronts during the height of the China confrontation.
In September 2016, India and France came to an agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft, built and designed by the European nation's Dassault Aviation. Over the next few years, there was a major controversy over the cost of the aircraft. However, the Supreme Court, in November 2018, cleared the deal, stating that no irregularities or corruption was found. In November 2019, it dismissed all review petitions challenging its judgement.
After the planes were formally indicted in September, the second set of Rafale fighter jets reached India in November.
India is now going to place orders for 114 multirole fighter aircraft along with the indigenously developed stealth fighters Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft whose seven squadrons would join the Air Force in the next 15-20 years.