Apart from Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine tableau and women officers gracing the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath, Rafale fighter aircraft was another star attraction at this year's Republic Day parade. One Rafale with 2 Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft and 2 MiG-29 air superiority fighters flew at a height of 300 metres and speed of 780 km/hour.
Here's what you need to know about Rafale jet on its R-day debut:
- During the Republic Day 2021 parade, the Rafale flew in the 'Vertical Charlie' formation. This formation was led by Group Captain Rohit Kataria, 17 Squadron Flight Commander.
- The 'Vertical Charlie' formation takes place when an aircraft flies at low altitude, pulls up vertically and conducts rolls before stabilising at higher altitude.
- Apart from Rafale, India's display of military might included a total of 38 Indian Air Force aircraft and four planes of the Indian Army. Besides this, t-90 tanks, Samvijay electronic warfare system and Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets were also showcased.
- Rafale jets are capable of carrying an array of potent weapons. Mainstay of Rafale's arsenal includes MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, MICA weapons system and scalp cruise missile
- IAF is also procuring the medium range modular air-to-ground Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) weapon system to integrate with the Rafale jets
- The Rafale jets, which have been inducted into the Indian Air Force recently, have been manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation
- India has received 36 Rafale fighter jets so far. Out of these, 5 were inducted into the IAF last year, 3 were flown to India in November 2020 and 3 more are expected to arrive by the end of this month, thus taking the total count to 11
- The first squadron of Rafale-- Golden Arrows Squadron is stationed at the Ambala air base whereas the second one is stationed at Harsimara air base in West Bengal
- Rafale is India's first major acquisition of fighter jets in 23 years after importing Sukhoi jets from Russia
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the former French President Francois Hollande had announced the deal for 36 Rafale jets worth Rs 59,000 crore back in April 2015 during the former's France visit. In September 2016, India and France inked an inter-government agreement (IGA) for acquiring the jets