New Delhi, July 29: Water salutes has been given to the five Rafale fighter aircraft after they landed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana today.
Air Force Chief R K S Bhadauria was reportedly present at the airbase at the time of the proud occasion.
Bhadauria who played a crucial role in the acquisition of these aircraft as in-charge of the Indian negotiating team for the Rs 60,000 crore defence deal which is the biggest ever to have been signed by the country.
Bhadauria was also the first Chief to receive fighter aircraft from abroad with his initials on the tail number of the plane as the two trainer Rafale aircraft came today have R B written on their tails, sources said.
What is water salute
A water salute is given in the ceremonial occasions when a vehicle travels under plumes of water expelled by one or more fire fighting vehicles.
In this welcoming ritual, two fire engines parked on either or both side of the runway use their water cannons to create a giant arc above a plane as it taxies to its gate.
In rarest of the times, one might even see a rainbow. It is a fun tradition and an impressive sight to witness.
Why do we do it?
Water salute for planes is to given to mark the retirement of a senior pilot or air traffic controller, the first or last flight of an airline to an airport, or the first or last flight of a type of aircraft.
India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades, the Rs 59,000-crore deal was signed on September 23, 2016, for 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base and is able to carry out all combat aviation missions: air superiority and air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale aircraft will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 kms from France to India. The Indian Air Force pilots and supporting personnel have been provided full training on aircraft and weapon systems by Dassault.