The first batch of the famed Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation finally landed in Ambala on Wednesday. The French made fighter aircrafts are predicted to significantly add on to the strength of the Indian Air Force. India’s military capabilities and defence weaponry is especially critical in the current times keeping in view the growing tensions with China and Pakistan.
IAF officers piloting the fighter jets had taken off from Merignac in France on Monday.The jets landed at the IAF’s Ambala airbase under tight security. The Indian defence forces had reportedly closed all roads leading to the airbase, announced ban on gatherings of more than four and also banned photography in the adjoining regions.
Rajnath Singh, the Indian Defence Minister also shared the good news with the citizens through his Twitter account. He tweeted, “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala. The touch down of Rafale combat aircrafts in India marks the beginning of a new era in our Military History. These multirole aircrafts will revolutionise the capabilities of the @IAF_MCC”
Speed and Combat Capabilities of Rafale Jets
As per the Indian Express Explained, a basic Rafale fighter jet is around 15.30 m long and has a height of 5.30 m. Moreover, it has a wing span of 10.90 m and overall empty weight of 10 tonnes. Moreover, the aircraft offers internal and external fuel capacity of up to 4.7 tonnes and up to 6.7 tonnes respectively.
One of the key highlights of the Dassault built Rafale is its high speed that can go up to 1.8 Mach at high altitude. (For a rough estimation, that is around double the speed of sound.)Furthermore, the aircraft comes with a plethora of combat capabilities for ground support, in-depth strikes, air defence, as well as the electronic warfare.
Additionally, Rafale jets include one of the most advanced Meteor air-to-air missiles in the world and 14 storage stations for weapons. Moreover, its 190-kg missile further offers a Beyond Visual Range of over 100 km.
In comparison to its major counterparts in China and Pakistan, the jet does offer a comparative superiority to the Indian side in the air. While the Rafale missile offers a BMR of over 100 km, AMRAAM missile in the Pakistan’s F16 jets, offer a BVR of around 75 km. Defence experts opine that Rafale should be able to outperform a F16 in a potential combat.
Moreover, Rafale also offers a larger capacity for weapons and fuel in comparison to China’s J20 Chengdu jets. Additionally, the J20 so far has no actual combat experience while the Dassault aircrafts have already been tested and showed that the jet is combat proven. The French Air Force has already used them on multiple occasions in Mali, Libya and Afghanistan.
The overall costs of the Rafale Jets
The batch of Rafale jets that landed in India on Wednesday are a part of India’s 2016 deal with France costing nearly Rs 58,000 crore. The government has claimed that each jet has costed them roughly around Rs. 670 Crore. The Dassault jets are undoubtedly going to be a major addition to the company’s military power but the deal had been clouded with corruption allegations enquiring into the costs and delay.
Furthermore, in its efforts to modernise India military, India’s defence ministry has not only increased on the imports of military equipment but is also encouraging indigenous innovation. Remarkably, the Indian army also introduced the Made In India Bharat Drones for the Indo-China border earlier this month.