How Rafale jets make IAF stronger
Five Rafale fighter jets which landed in Ambala air base from France are touted as the next line of defence for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
These jets are the first foreign induction by the IAF in 23 years into its mind-boggling inventory of fighters.
The five jets are part of the 36 twin-engine aircraft purchased from Dassault Rafale at approximately Rs 59,000 crore in 2016. Known as the 4.5 generation aircraft, the Rafale is considered to be one of the finest fighters in the world and is described as an ‘omnirole’ aircraft that can take up several missions on a single flight.
Better than the rest
With its avionics, radars and weapon systems, the Rafale is the most potent aircraft in South Asia, much ahead of the F-16s that Pakistan uses or even the JF-20, the 5th generation stealth aircraft of China, which is yet to see combat. Rafale are combat-proven having been inducted into conflicts in Afghanistan, Mali, Libya, Iraq and Syria.
Rafale would come especially handy to the IAF with its weapon-carrying capability, it can even deliver nuclear weapons. The game-changing missile on-board, the Rafale is over Rs 20-crore worth Meteor air-to-air missile.
With Meteor, an Indian Rafale jet will be able to shoot down an enemy aircraft, even if over 100 km away, without even crossing the Indian air space. Neither Pakistan nor China possess a weapon as deadly as the Meteor.
Another key missile on-board the Rafale is the over Rs 40-crore worth Scalp long-range air-to-ground stand-off cruise missile. The missile has a 600-km range and is known for its precision. The Rafale will not have to cross the Indian airspace to hit a target that is about 600 km in enemy territory!
It is also laced with high-tech sensors and radars.
Indian heroes on the jet
The first Rafale has tail number RB 001. ‘RB’ on the trainer aircraft’s tail stands for the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria, the IAF chief. It is a tribute to Bhadauria for working out the Rafale deal as the force’s deputy chief earlier.
The single-seater comes with initials of BS, which stands for former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa.