Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Bolstering Firepower, 5 Of These 13 Rafale Aircraft Will Join The IAF Fleet This Month [Tracking Tail Numbers]

Dassault Rafale - Indian Air Force - 001
Thanks to intrepid Plane-spotters, positioned outside l'aeroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac, in France, we have a fair account of the Indian Air Force [IAF] Rafale Airframes, currently taking to the skies. News reports confirmed, today, that India would be flying in 5 of their Dassault Rafale Combat Aircraft, this July 29, 2020 - 2 Rafale EH, Single Seat and 5 Rafale DH, Twin-Seat variant. The No. 17 Golden Arrows Squadron, that would fly them from from their home base in Ambala, would near certainly forward deploy to Ladakh shortly, what with the Chinese ingress into India.
So far, based on the Tail Numbers on the photographed fighters, we know that 13 IAF Rafale have flown at Bordeaux - 5 Single Seater: BS 001-005; 8 Twin-Seater: RB 001-008. Another batch of aircraft, the IAF stated, would come in August 2020.

IAF pilots, already in France, along with the complement of Ground Crew, undergoing training & acquiring proficiency, would bring them home, flying along a path that would require them to perform mid-air refuelling en-route from French Tankers.
Some photographs of each Airframe. Click/tap the photos to view them in larger size.
  • BS 001
  • BS 002
  • BS 003
  • BS 004
  • BS 005
Dassault Rafale - Indian Air Force - BS 005 - 01
  • RB 001
  • RB 002
  • RB 003
  • RB 004
  • RB 005
  • RB 006
  • RB 007
  • RB 008
Curiously, photographs of the the RB 008, though the first unveiled IAF Airframe, in flight haven't appeared online, so far. Quite likely that it serves as a familiarisation platform for IAF personnel undergoing training. Also serve as a ground test rig for the India-specific enhancements.
The Livefist Defence blog has done a series of posts detailing various facets of the current acquisition.
The criticality of augmenting the IAF's fast-depleting Squadron strength simply can not be stressed enough. Facing off against twin adversaries on either land borders, the IAF is currently woefully under-strength, forcing it to adopt ad-hoc measures, with promise of a better future.
Dassault Rafale - Indian Air Force - 001
Pictures courtesy: Vincent Genevay, SD Aviation Photography [Sebastien David], Guillaume Carré, Florian Roussel, Alain Berthin, Julie Reynes & ANI News.