Everything You Need To Know About Rafale Jets That Will Arrive In India Tomorrow

Courtesy: indiatoday.in

The induction of the fourth generation fighter jets is expected to significantly boost the combat capability of the Indian Air Force that has been on a high alert in view of rising tension with China. India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.

The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets. Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat.


Courtesy: indiatoday.in

The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden. Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low-band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

The first squadron of the aircraft will be stationed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF

Five Rafale fighter jets of the 36 ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) took off from Mérignac in France and will reach their home base in Ambala on July 29 after a stopover at the Al Dhafra airbase near Abu Dhabi — a move that will boost the rapid deployment of the jets to upgrade India’s ageing air power amid tensions with neighbouring China and Pakistan.


Courtesy: cnbc.com

The two-leg flight will involve the Rafales covering a distance of nearly 7,000km. The five fighters landed safely at Al Dhafra after a seven-hour flight from France on Monday evening.

“Real beauty and beast!” Indian ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf said while the planes were being flagged off in Bordeaux. “First five Rafale to India – swift, nimble, versatile, advanced and lethal,” he added.

“This also marks a new milestone in the strong and growing India-France defence cooperation,” the Indian Embassy said in a statement.


The new fighters — the first imported jets to be inducted into the IAF in 23 years after the Russian Sukhoi-30 jets entered service in June 1997 — will significantly enhance the offensive capabilities of IAF, which has for long-planned to update its fighter jet force.

The jets — the first of the 36 Rafale jets purchased from French firm Dassault in a government-to-government deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016 — have been specially tailored for IAF. India-specific enhancements on the Rafales include a helmet-mounted sight, radar warning receivers, flight data recorders with 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 ward off incoming missiles. The twin-engine jet is capable of carrying out a variety of missions – ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance and nuclear strike deterrence. It can carry almost 10 tonnes of weapons on as many as 14 hardpoints.

The delivery of the remaining 31 fourth-generation-plus fighters will be completed by the end of next year.


The French air force refuelled the fighters — three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft — using its Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft on their way to Al Dhafra. Aerial refuelling support will be provided by the IAF’s Russian Ilyushin-78 refuellers for the second leg of the journey from Al Dhafra to Ambala.

The jets are being flown by Indian pilots who have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, the IAF said. The Rafales will be a part of the IAF’s No. 17 Squadron, which is also known as the “Golden Arrows”. The aircrew bringing the Rafales to India is headed by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, a decorated fighter pilot, who is the commanding officer of the No. 17 Squadron.

The first Rafale’s RB-001 tail number denotes the initials of the IAF chief: Rakesh Bhadauria. He led the complex negotiations for the Rafale deal. The Indian fighters will be equipped with Meteor missiles built by European defence major MBDA Missile Systems. The Meteor’s no-escape zone is touted to be three times greater than that of current medium-range air-to-air missiles.

It’s a magnificent achievement to get a fighter of this class decades after the IAF inducted the Mirage-2000s from France in the mid-1980s, said Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major (retd), a former IAF chief.


“The Rafales bring tremendous capabilities to the table. We should now wait and watch how the fighter evolves in the Indian environment. I am sure it will meet each and every qualitative requirement of the IAF,” Major added.

France handed over to India its first Rafale fighter during a ceremony attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart, Florence Parly, in Merignac on October 8 last year. Air and ground crews of the IAF have been in France for almost three years for the management of the Rafale programme.