Planes will arrive at Ambala July 29
India’s latest fighter jet acquisition, the Rafale, is set to arrive on July 29 and is fitted with ‘game-changing’ weapons which are unmatched in the neighbourhood – Pakistan and China.
Just days before the Rafale fighter jets made by Daasult aviation of France are set to be inducted, the Indian Air Force has said its pilots and ground crew, after having undergone training, are ‘fully operational’. Read it here
This comes even as India and China are locked in a tense stand-off since early May. Ambala is such located that the plane can take off and fly north-eastwards towards the G219 highway of China.
The twin engine plane is set to join the IAF fleet when the first lot of five arrives on July 29 and will be stationed at Ambala in North India. These planes will be flown in from France by Indian pilots. An Airbus tanker will re-fuel them mid-air and the planes will take a small break at a base in the middle east before flying to Ambala.
With this the Indian Air Force not just with a fast and agile modern fighter but one that comes armed with a highly potent set of weapons from European company MBDA that are unrivalled by any of India’s neighbours.
Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest and formal induction ceremony will take place in second half of August 2020.
The weapons on board
The most famous of these weapons is the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. The Meteor is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives Meteor far more engine power, for much longer than any other missile. This means it can fly faster, fly longer, and manoeuvre more than any other missile – giving Meteor the ability to chase down and destroy agile hostile fighters at even the furthers of ranges. As a result, Meteor has a no-escape zone many times greater than any other air-to-air missile.
India’s Rafales will also be equipped with the SCALP deep-strike cruise missile from MBDA. This stealthy weapon has proven repeatedly in combat its unerring ability to strike hardened and protected targets deep inside hostile territory – without the need for the Rafale to enter hostile airspace. SCALP’s operational effectiveness is the result of three key factors: its high survivability thanks to its long stand-off range, low observability and sophisticated mission planning system; its pinpoint terminal accuracy through its highly accurate seeker and target recognition system; and its terminal effectiveness provide by its powerful tandem warhead and multiple detonation modes.
The IAF’s Rafales will also be equipped with MICA, a missile the Indian Air Force knows very well as it is also part of the upgrade package for the IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. Its ability to fly out to BVR in passive mode before the seeker locks on in the final stages of the end game has earned it the nickname “silent killer” as the target has little time to react or to deploy effective countermeasures.