Varanasi: Rafale brings joy to Ballia village. With the first batch of five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafales landed at the IAF station Ambala on Wednesday, the natives of Bakawa village in Ballia district of eastern UP switched over to celebration mood bursting crackers and distributing sweets amid patriotic slogans.
One of the pilots of the first batch of Rafales -Manish Singh belongs to this village. Manish is the son of an ex-serviceman Madan Singh. He was selected with others for bringing Rafales from France after a six-month rigorous training.
Eldest among the four siblings, Manish did his primary schooling in the village, and later moved to Karnal Sainik School. He was inducted in the IAF in 2002.
The first batch of Rafales had taken off from Dassault Aviation Facility, Merignac, France, on Monday morning. These five include three single seater and two twin seater aircraft. The ferry of the aircraft is planned in two stages and will be undertaken by the pilots of the IAF, who have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft. The Air to Air Refuelling planned during the first leg of the ferry was undertaken by these pilots with dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force.
According to the Ministry of Defence, IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest.