2021 was an eventful year for the Indian military with evolving security dynamics in the neighborhood. Though the standoff with China along the LAC and a devastating second wave of Covid-19 tested the forces, positive developments too dotted the year gone by.
While the military was successful in sealing some crucial deals and indigenizing its technology, the highlight was home-grown aircraft carrier Vikrant undergoing sea trials. Another significant development was the tough balancing act the forces did between two of its most significant defense partners, the United States and Russia.
Though most of the acquisitions in 2021 were based on the weapon systems that were in the advanced stages of procurements, many deals were signed and expedited keeping the security threat in mind.
As the year comes to a close, here is a rewind of the five path-breaking weapon systems that the Indian military finally got to improve its operational combat capability.
The French Combat Aircraft – Rafale
One of the most important inductions that India made was of the French Rafale fighters. The procurement started in the year 2020; it has continued in 2021 and is set to be completed by early next year.
This year saw the second squadron of Rafale becoming operational at the Hasimara airbase in West Bengal. Currently, there are 2 functional Rafale squadrons in India — the 117 ‘Golden Arrows’ at Ambala that could cater to the Ladakh sector and the 101 ‘Falcon’ that could make a swift flight to the eastern sector of the LAC, the disputed border between India and China.
The Indian Air Force has received 32 of the 36 Rafale fighters with the rest integrated with ‘India specific’ enhancements to land in India early next year.