Why the induction of the Rafale will be a game changer for the Indian Air Force
New Delhi, July 29: The Rafales arrive in India today and it is set to be a game changer. Five of the Rafales ordered from France by the Indian Air Force will land at their home base at Ambala, Haryana.
This is set to be a game changer as it would add significantly to the capabilities of the IAF. This has been a long planned update that the IAF has been looking for and experts have said that the induction of the Rafale fighter jets will be a game changer for India in the regional politics of South Asia.
What makes the Rafale special?
Rafale is categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft due to its radar-evading stealth profile. This is a significant upgrade for the Indian Air Force as most aircraft in its fleet are the Mirage 200 and Su-30 MKI, which are classified as either third or fourth-generation fighters.
Twin jet fighter:
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft. It can operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. It has been described as a fully versatile aircraft and can carry out all combat aviation missions. This gives it air superiority apart from the fact it largely enhances air defence. Further, it has the capacity to carry out in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and has nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale has been tailor-made for the IAF and it will be a crucial enhancement to India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft fleet. There are India specific enhancements such as helmet mount sight, radar warning receivers, flight data recorders with enough storage for 10 hours of data, infrared search and track systems, jammers, cold start engine capability, towed decoys to lure incoming missiles away and the ability to operate from high altitude bases.
The first Rafale combat aircraft manufactured for India bears the tail number RB-01, which are the initials of Air Chief Marshal, R K S Bhadauria. The Air Chief had played a crucial role in the signing of the deal worth around Rs 60,000 crore.
India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in September 2016. Out of this 30 would be fighter jets and six would-be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin seaters and will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
The Rafales will be part of the IAF's No 17 Squadron also known as the Golden Arrows. The first squadron of the aircraft will be stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station. The second squadron of the Rafale will be stationed at the Hasimara base in West Bengal. India is the fourth country to fly the Rafale after France, Egypt and Qatar.