Another Batch Of Rafale Jets To Fly In By Mid-May

India will receive another 8 to 9 Rafale jets from France by mid May, with some expected later this month, completing the first squadron of the fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Rafales

  1. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is a French twin-engine and multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy.
  2. India has inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal in 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force did not fructify.
    • The MMRCA deal was stalled due to disagreements over production in India.
    • In comparison to the earlier deal i.e. MMRCA, Rafale has much technological advancement, lower life cycle cost and specifications according to the warfare needs of India.

Specification

  • Air Supremacy: Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction (act of disrupting), aerial reconnaissance (observation to locate an enemy), ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
  • Wide Range of Weapons: Meteor missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
    • Meteor: It is the next generation of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat.
      • The Meteor missile can target enemy aircraft from 150 km away. It can destroy enemy aircraft before they actually even get close to the Indian aircraft.
    • SCALP Cruise Missiles: It can hit targets 300 km away.
    • MICA Missile System: It is a very versatile air-to-air missile. It comes with a radar seeker and can be fired for the short-range to long-range as well right up to 100 km.
      • It’s already in service with the IAF i.e. Mirages and is the primary weapon system of Rafales as well.
  • Air to Air Target: The ability to strike air-to-air targets from up to 150 km away and safely hit land targets 300 km within enemy territory make them some of the deadliest fighter jets flying in the world.
  • Flight Hours: The aircraft has 30,000 flight hours in operations

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