In what will be a proud moment for every citizen of the country, the Indian Air Force successfully conducted the inaugural testing of the first Rafale plane manufactured for India. IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal Nambiar, who was among the first test pilots of the LCA Tejas program, was tasked with the responsibility to take forward the maiden test.
According to the sources, the sortie by Nambiar lasted for an hour. He completed the testing while sitting in the front cockpit. Two images were shared on this landmark event as a new dawn beckoned the Air Force of the country.
This was one of the first trials done by the IAF before a go-ahead is given to France in order manufacture more such jets. It is one of the landmark moments in IAF, given they had been waiting to test out this jet since the past two decades.
The testing of Rafale comes as a major achievement for the IAF following the whole political saga behind the plane. Congress party has been constantly attacking and questioning the BJP government over pricing, procurement and ability of the jets in the deal. Rahul Gandhi had accused PM Modi and Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman of taking away the deal from HAL and giving it to Anil Ambani.
But earlier this month, senior leaders of IAF made it crystal clear that the deal is beneficial for the country. Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force Marshal BS Dhanoa had said, "By providing the Rafale S400, the government is strengthening the IAF to counter the shortfall of our depleting numbers."
The Air Chief defended the purchase of two squadrons of the Rafale fighter from France and put forth the need for numbers to be able to carry out the full spectrum of operations.
Prior that, Air Marshal Shirish Baban Deo, the Vice Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force brushed aside the political controversy behind Rafale by highlighting the importance of the jets. Speaking to media, he had said, "All this discussion and all these things going on in Rafale, it is because we know a lot about how everything went, we find that, people don’t have the information, okay. And, I shouldn’t be, you know, speaking. I am not authorised to volunteer information, so we just lump it. And these kind of things are not … we are just waiting for the aircraft to come. It is a beautiful aircraft. Very, very capable aircraft and it is a capability that we need very quickly."