Five Rafale aircrafts out of the 36 ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) from France will arrive at their Harayana’s Ambala base on Wednesday.
The new aircraft will notably magnify the offensive ability of the Indian Air Force, which had long planned to update its fighter jet force. Defence experts have stated that the bringing in of the Rafale jets will be a game changer for the nation in terms of regional politics of South Asia.
France has accelerated the consignments of Rafale to India and five jets are arriving in Ambala in place of four that were initially planned to be delivered in the first lot.
Here’s how the Rafale aircraft will add to Indian Air Force’s strength:
1) Categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft for its radar-evading stealth profile, is significant for IAF because most of the aircraft in its fleet, which includes the Mirage 2000 and the Su-30 MkI, are classified as either third or fourth-generation aircrafts.
2) It is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to ply from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The makers describe it as a fully versatile aircraft which can execute every combat aviation missions to get air supremacy and air defence, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
3) The first Rafale built for India bears the tail number RB-01, the initials of IAF Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. The ir Force chief had played a crucial part in the signing of India’s biggest-ever defence deal worth approximately Rs 60,000 crore.
4) India had ordered 36 Rafale aircrafts from France in a deal worth about Rs 60,000 crore in 2016. Of the 36 Rafale, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will possess almost all the features of the fighter jets.
5) The Rafale fighter jets will be a pivotal amplification to India’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft fleet.
6) Rafale have been especially made for the IAF. India-specific enhancements include helmet-mounted sight, radar warning receivers, flight data recorders with enough storage for 10 hours of data, infrared search and track systems, jammers, cold engine start capability to operate from high-altitude bases and towed decoys to lure incoming missiles away.
7) The aircraft will be the first imported fighter jet to be taken into the IAF in 22 years after the Russian Sukhoi-30 fighters in June 1997.
8) The Rafales will be a part of the IAF’s No 17 Squadron, which is also known as the “Golden Arrows”. The first squadron of the aircraft will be stationed at Ambala air force station, regarded as one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at West Bengal’s Hasimara base.
9) The Indian Air Force spent around Rs 400 crore to set up infrastructure such as shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the two bases.
10) After Egypt, France and Qatar, India will be the fourth nation to fly the Rafale.
11) Rafale cannot be compared with the J-20, a fifth-generation aircraft of China. The J-20 is soon set to be inducted in large numbers into the People’s Liberation Army Air Force of China after it was successfully made.
12) The first 18 fighter jets, which includes the four in the first batch, were to be delivered to the IAF by February 2021, with the rest expected by April-May 2022, as per the original delivery plan.