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Rajnath Singh Flies On India's First Rafale Jet, Describes It 'Unprecedented Moment'

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 08 October 2019, 08:29 PM
Rajnath Singh in France's Mérignac.
Rajnath Singh in France's Mérignac. (Photo Credit : ANI/ Twitter )

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inspected a Rafale fighter jet at Dassault Aviation's plant in France’s Merignac on Tuesday for the handover ceremony of the first combat jet acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The minister, who had landed at Merignac Airport in the southwestern French town of Bordeaux on Tuesday and held wide-ranging talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, said his visit was aimed at "expanding the strategic partnership" between India and France.

In Bordeaux, Singh began with a tour of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation's plant before a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first Rafale combat jet.

Rajnath Singh takes Rafale combat jet sortie | Highlights:

8.15 PM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after taking a sortie in the Rafale jet: "It was a very comfortable and smooth flight. It was an unprecedented moment, I had never thought that one day, I will fly at super sonic speed in an aircraft."

7.50 PM: Rafale jet carrying Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lands after taking a sortie. It was being flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassualt Aviation.

 

07.30 PM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes a sortie in a Rafale combat aircraft at Mérignac in France. He is being flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassualt Aviation.

07.10 PM:  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh gets inside the Rafale RB001 fighter jet to perform the first sortie. 

06.30 PM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs 'Shastra Puja' after receiving first of 36 Rafale combat jets at Mérignac in France.

06.00 PM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh got the formal delivery of the first of the 36 long-awaited Rafale fighter jets bought from the Dassault Aviation in France on Tuesday. Singh, who is on a three-day visit to France, accepted the handover at a facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Bordeaux.

05.50 PM: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Mérignac(France): Today marks a new milestone in India-France strategic partnership.I look forward to taking a sortie in the Rafale aircraft.""

05.47 PM: “I am happy that the delivery of Rafale aircraft is on schedule, I am confident that this will add further strength to our Air Force. I wish cooperation between our two major democracies further increases in all sectors,” says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Mérignac (France).

05.45 PM: “In India, today is the festival of Dusssehra also known as Vijayadashmi where we celebrate victory over evil. It is also the 87th Air Force Day, therefore, the day becomes symbolic in so many ways,” says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Mérignac (France).

05.30 pm: The minister, who earlier held wide-ranging talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, said his visit was aimed at "expanding the strategic partnership" between India and France.

05.15 pm: After the handover ceremony, the minister is scheduled to fly a sortie in the Rafale jet following a brief Shastra Puja conducted by him, which will conclude with the traditional breaking of a coconut before the new aircraft.

04.12 pm: India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. While the formal handover ceremony takes place this week, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020.

04.00 pm: All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022, for which the IAF has been reportedly undertaking preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots.

3.30 pm: The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The manufacturers describe it as a fully versatile aircraft which can carry out all combat aviation missions to achieve air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.

First Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2019 05:21 PM
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