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Assam: Induction of Rafale into IAF – Challenges in training and operationalization

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Guwahati: Air Marshal (Retd.) Anjan Kumar Gogoi, PVSM AVSM VSM, and a member of North Eastern Council (NEC) deliberated on ‘The induction of Rafale into the Indian Air Force – Challenges in training and operationalization’ in a webinar conducted by Royal Global University on 14 September 2020. He was joined by Prof. (Dr.) S. P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Royal Global University,  Prof.A.K.Buragohain, Chairperson-Academics, faculty, staff and students of RGU as well as from across India. It was moderated by Ms. Parismita Goswami, Lecturer, Royal School of Engineering & Technology-CSE dept.

Prof.A.K.Buragohain, welcoming Air Marshall (Retd.) Anjan Kumar Gogoi, stated that the topic to be discussed today was a very relevant topic for every Indian as Rafale aircraft purchase, induction into Indian Air Force will be a game changer and how India is prepared to operationalize it.

Prof.Singh, spoke on the RGU MoU signed with Paris Air Inc., Florida, USA, wished every flying aspirant student to make best use of this facility now available in Northeast and become India’s pride by flying Rafale aircrafts after graduating in B.Sc-Aviation with Commercial Pilot License. He said that in September 2016, India and France signed an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for the acquisition of 36 aircraft at a total cost of  €7.87 billion (Rs 58,891 crore). It is a proud moment for Indians as security in the skies is as important as in the ground and water.

Air Marshal Gogoi, a resplendent decorated officer, made a disclaimer that all he will speak in the webinar will be solely his views and not the IAF. He spoke on IAF since Independence and the vintage aircrafts being replaced, newer ones procured every 10 years, upgrading the IAF. However, in the last 20 years, no aircrafts were procured, bringing the 42 squadron down to 31 squadrons. But with the procurement of the 36 Rafale aircrafts, India stands to enhance its air space security. The Defence Minister of France was in India during the induction of 5 Rafale aircrafts, which were presented with a water cannon salute to mark its induction in IAF. Further, he stated that a rigorous 3 months process was undertaken by a core team to finalize the Rafale aircrafts from international aircrafts floated through tenders. The trained pilots in France will be the nucleus for training the pilots and technical training for engineers and technicians. Pilots go through ground training on basic aircraft systems, the operational systems and weapons and later about their exploitation. Before physically commencing flying, they will fly a few missions on the simulator and under supervision of the French flying instructors.

He said that the 17 squadron ‘Golden Arrows’  which was ‘number-plated’ in 2016 has been resurrected on 10 September 2019 at Ambala. This will be the first Rafale squadron. This core group would also split into two to form the second Rafale squadron at Hashmira, North Bengal in the east next year. Speaking on the Rafale DH (two-seater) and Rafale EH (Single-seat) variant, are twin-engine, delta-wing, 4th plus generation fighter with semi-stealth capabilities, he said that it is an agile aircraft and capable of simultaneously packaging air superiority, interdiction, reconnaissance, airborne nuclear deterrent missions, operational preparation and deployment. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale would perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, deep ground strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. Rafale is likely to maintain high availability and mission success rate.He deftly answered questions on the Rafale deal and India manufacturing its own aircrafts.

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