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Rajnath flies on India's first Rafale jet in France

Last updated on: October 08, 2019 20:52 IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flew a sortie on the newly inducted French-built Rafale fighter, which was formally handed over to India on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flashes the thumbs up sign in the first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet on the tarmac before its take-off at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

The aircraft was flown by Philippe Duchateau, head test pilot of Dassault Aviation.

 

This was Singh's second sortie in a fighter jet in a span of a month. He earlier flew in the LCA Tejas which was recently inducted in the Indian Air Force.

IMAGE: Rajnath sits in the first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet . Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

After taking to the skies in the Rafale, Rajnath said, "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."

Shortly before flying a sortie, Singh performed Shastra Puja (worship of weapons) on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami. Videos from the Dassault Aviation facility in France' Merignac show Singh writing an 'Om' on the jet and laying flowers and a coconut on it.

WATCH: Rajnath Singh completes Rafale sortie

 Singh received the aircraft at the handing-over ceremony at Merignac in the presence of French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly. Members of the top military brass of France as well as senior officials of Dassault Aviation -- the makers of Rafale -- were also present at the ceremony.

IMAGE: The first Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jet takes off after the delivery ceremony. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Speaking on the occasion, Singh said that the induction of Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force will give a boost to India's air dominance exponentially, adding that the occasion signifies the depth of the strategic partnership between India and France.

IMAGE: Rajnath in his G-suit before taking off in the customised Rafale fighter jet. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

"Our air force is the fourth largest in the world and I believe that the Rafale medium multi-roll combat aircraft will make us even stronger and give a boost to India's air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region," Singh said.

"It is a historic and landmark day for Indian armed forces. This ceremony signifies the depth of the strategic partnership between India and France," he added.

IMAGE: Rajnath completed a 35-minute long flight in the Rafale. Photograph: Rajnath Singh/Twitter
Source: ANI
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