The Dassault Rafale, known globally as the most potent strategic multi-role jet fighter, will significantly bolster India’s defence and combat abilities against its hostile neighbours Pakistan and China.
The induction of the combat jets seems perfectly timed as India is in the midst of border tensions with China. The 36 French combat aircraft will be a game-changer for India’s defence forces as no country’s Air Force in the neighbourhood possesses aircraft that can match the superior performance and powerful weapons systems of the Dassault Rafale.
The Dassault Rafale is often compared to the US Air Force’s stealth F35 and F22 aircraft in terms of technical abilities. The Rafale is a multirole fighter jet capable to carry out missions like in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence, close air support, air superiority and air defence at speeds of up to 1.8 Mach.
The Rafale has an impeccable track record with unmatched air combat capabilities having served in Libya, Iraq, Mali, Syria and Afghanistan in the last few years. India received the Rafale as a strategic platform after France, Egypt and Qatar.
The Rafale entered service in the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, stacking up an impressive 30,000 flight hours in operation.
The Rafale is more agile, has longer-endurance, and can fly at higher speeds with a wider range of weapons as compared to the Lockheed Martin F35 of the US Air Force. However, the F35 possesses superior onboard avionics scores much ahead in electronics warfare systems.
Defence experts stated that the Dassault Rafale is much more advanced and lethal than fighter jets of China’s Air Force. The Rafale serves to boost the Indian defence and prepare them for any type of threat. The induction of the fighter jets into the Indian Air Force is considered crucial given the recent border tensions between India and China.
China’s Chengdu J20 just cannot be compared with the Dassault Rafale, as the French manufactured jets are much more superior. The Rafale’s will give India superior air dominance capabilities.
The Rafale jets will come with METEOR (Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile), SCALP cruise missile and MICA weapons system suite. These weapons are manufactured by European missile maker MBDA.
The Indian Air Force is also looking at integrating HAMMER weapons system with the Rafale jets. HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) is a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground precision-guided missile weapons system developed by Safran, a French defence contractor. The missile was originally designed and manufactured for the French Navy and Air Force
When all 36 Dassault Rafale’s have been inducted into the Indian Air Force, they will provide unmatched air power in the region. Certainly, a game-changer for India, and something both Pakistan and China must take note of. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
On Wednesday, India received five Rafale jets, its first batch of the multirole fighter jets from France in nearly two decades.
This acquisition comes as a result of the depleting combat capability of the Indian Air Force as the number of its fighter squads reduced to 31. The authorized strength of the fighter squadron is at least 42.
The five combat-ready Rafale fighter jets will include three single-seat and two twin-seat aircraft, to be inducted into the Indian Air Force, Ambala based 17th Squadron, called the “Golden Arrows”.