A set of five new Rafale jets begins its journey from France on Monday for India and is expected to reach on 29 July. The jets will be refueled in the UAE by French Air Force during the two-day journey. The three twin-seater and two single-seater jets will touch down at the Ambala Airbase in Haryana after covering a distance of 7,000 km.
According to Air Marshal (retd), M Matheswaran, after this induction, “Rafale will become the most advanced aircraft in IAF’s fighter fleet, and brings to fruition a more than two-decades-long, often disrupted, Indian acquisition process of the MRCA/MMRCA.”
Looking at India’s strained relationship with China and Pakistan, these jets are going to add to the strength of the Indian Air Force. They will definitely bolster the country’s armoury against the rouge neighbors. With the recent stand-off with China along the LAC and constant faceoff with militants in the Kashmir valley including regular infiltration from across the border by terrorists have made these inductions of fighter jets all the more relevant for India.
These jets will be equipped with advanced weapons, latest avionics, radars, electronic warfare systems, and self-protection suites to maneuver in hostile territory. They will have a combat range of 780 km to 1,650 km based on the mission.
There will be two squadrons of the Rafale jets, says India’s ambassador to France Mr. Jawed Ashraf. “It would take almost a year before the first squadron is fully equipped with its strength of 18 aircraft and all associated equipment and weapons, as well as the training of all its aircrew, ” says Matheswaran. The second squadron would be tentatively operational by the middle of 2022, he added.
This is a strong statement by India considering the belligerent atmosphere with neighboring countries in recent times.
Image courtesy: The Week