The Indian Air Force (IAF) has raised the second Rafale squadron, the ‘101 Falcons of Chhamb and Akhnoor’ at Ambala ahead of their formal induction at the Hasimara airbase in West Bengal, The Times of India reported.
The second Rafale squadron at Hasimara is meant to counter threats on the eastern front with China. Rafales’ deployment on the eastern front is expected to boost capabilities of the IAF, which has already placed multirole air superiority fighter Sukhoi-30MKIs at Tezpur and Chabua.
The 101 squadron participated in the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, and was operational till 2011. It has now been resurrected.
While the first squadron – the ’17 Golden Arrows’ – is fully operational at Ambala with 18 Rafale fighter jets, the second squadron currently has five jets, the news report suggested citing persons aware of the development. A squadron comprises around 18 aircraft. The remaining 13 Rafales are expected to arrive in batches before April 2022.
The formal induction ceremony of the second Rafale squadron has been reportedly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is likely to happen within a month. Group Captain Neeraj Jhamb is the commanding officer of the 101 squadron.