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Three more Rafale Fighter Jets reach India from France

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT Correspondent
New Delhi, Jan 28: 

A third batch of three more Rafale fighter jets touched down in IAF’s Jamnagar base in Gujarat.on Wednesday evening to add to the eight such Omni-role jets already inducted by Indian Airforce.
The three Rafales were refuelled in mid-air by Airbus Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) tankers of the UAE Air Force,  in yet another indication of close military ties with the Gulf country, during their over 7,000-km flight to the IAF’s Jamnagar base.
IAF has now inducted 11 of the 36 twin-engine Rafales, which are also capable of delivering nuclear weapons, under the Rs 59,000 crore deal inked with France in September 2016. All 36 will be delivered by end-2022.
The 4.5-generation fighters have a combat range of 780-km to 1,650-km, without mid-air refuelling, depending on the nature of their mission. The IAF fighters are armed with long stand-off weapons like the over 300-km range ‘Scalp’ air-to-ground cruise missiles.
The fighters are also being equipped with the top-notch Meteor air-to-air missiles, which with a strike range of 120 to 150-km can outgun any missile that can currently be unleashed by Pakistani or Chinese jets.
IAF has also ordered the “Hammer” air-to-ground precision-guided munitions for the Rafales, in a deal that came last year amidst the ongoing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh. With a strike range of 20 to 70-km, the Hammer munitions are designed to destroy bunkers, hardened shelters and other targets in all terrains, including the mountainous one in Ladakh.
Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) is a precision-guided missile developed by French defence major “Safran”. The missile was originally designed and manufactured for the French Air Force and Navy. Meteor is the next generation of BVR air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by “MBDA” to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs. 59,000 crore. The second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on 03 November.
The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The new fleet of Rafale jets has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh. They are  capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.
The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at Ambala air base while the second is based at Hasimara base in West Bengal.

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