The first batch of the much-awaited Rafale fighter jets took off from France (July 27) and are en-route to India. India had purchase 36 twin-engine fighter planes from Dassault Rafale for an estimated 58,000 crore Rupees.
The first batch/group includes five aircraft, being flown by Indian Air Force pilots. They flew from the Merignac airbase near Bordeaux in France.
The first fighter jet was handed over to the Indian Air Force in October 2019, in France, in a ceremony attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and French Minister for Armed Forces Florence Parly.
Ten aircraft have been delivered on schedule, as per a statement by the Indian Embassy in France on Monday. Of these ten, five have left for India, while the rest five will remain in France for training purpose.
The distance covered by them is nearly about 7,000 kms, and will require air-to-air refueling. While the distance can be covered within a day as well, with the refueling, it has been planned that the jets need to make a stop in United Arab Emirates(UAE).
They will be bring up to the Al Dhafra French air base near Abu Dabhi on Monday, and will take off from there for Ambala on next wednesday morning.
Are all the five jets the same?
No, the jets India has bought are a mix of single-seater and two-seater planes.
The twin-seater air planes have the current Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria’s initials, “RB”, as he played a significant/important role in negotiating the deal.
Whereas, single-seater aircraft having the initials of the last chief of Air Force, retired Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa.
When the other jets will come?
Out of the ten delivered to the Air Force, five are in France for training. Pilots and support personnel of the Indian Air Force have been given complete training about the aircraft and the weapon systems by Dassault in France.
According to the Indian Embassy in France, IAF batches will continue to be trained in France for the next nine months.
The delivery of all the 36 jets is scheduled by the end of 2021.
What happens when they reach India?
The Indian Air Force crew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems, which is fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on internationalization of the aircraft at the earliest.
The immediate focus when they reach will be to ensure that the pilots and ground crew put their heads down and become integrated with the overall IAF operations at the earliest. Further, it is important that the ferry-in of fighters as well as move of support crew is completed safely and swiftly.
The first jets will comprise the resurrected No 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the Air Force, and will be stationed in Ambala. The Golden Arrows had upraised in 1951 and have been involved in a number of significant/important operations through their history, including the Kargil War. But after the Air Force started to phase out the Mig-21, which were operated by the Golden Arrows, the squadron was disbanded in 2016.
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation and has the capability of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions. It can be used to perform ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.
The fighter aircrafts were used in combat operations in various nations, including Afghanistan, Mali, Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Egypt, Qatar and India also ordered the aircraft.
Rafale combat aircraft was demonstrated at Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition in March 2019.
The French defense procurement agency (DGA) qualified the Rafale F3-R standard in October 2018. The F3-R is an advanced version of Rafale F3 standard with improved adaptability; In March 2017, the French Government approved the development of new advanced Rafale F4 standard.
The UAE was anticipated to receive the Rafale under a $10bn contract to replace its 60 ageing Mirage fighters. In November 2011, however, the deal has came to a standstill when the UAE designated Dassault’s price and terms as ‘uncompetitive’.
In February 2012, the Indian Ministry of Defense selected Rafale for the Indian Air Force’s MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) programme. The contract is worth approximately $20bn.
According to the deal, Dassault will supply 126 Rafale fighters. The first 18 fighters will supplied by the end of 2015 and the rest will be manufactured in India under a technology transfer to Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). This contract was the first international furnish for Rafale.
The Indian Government finalized a contract in April 2015 for the acquisition of 36 (28 single-seat and eight dual-seat) Rafale aircraft. An intergovernmental deal worth €7.87bn ($8.82bn) was signed to facilitate the purchase in September 2016. France hand-over the 1st aircraft to India on October 2019.
An Alter, multi-image head-level display presents planned circumstances and sensor data, while two touchscreen lateral displays show the aircraft system parameters and mission data.
A pilot also has a helmet-mounted sight and display. A camera and on-board recorder records the image of the head-up display throughout the mission.
Rafale Feature’s :
Rafale can bear a payloads of more than 9ton on 14 hardpoints for the airforce version, with 13 for the naval version. The range of weapons includes: Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles;
The Rafale has a twin gun pod and a Nexter (formerly Giat) 30mm DEFA 791B cannon, which can fire 2,500 rounds a minute. The Rafale is rig-out with laser designation pods for laser guidance of air-to-ground missiles.
The Rafale multirole combat fighter is equipped with an RBE2 passive electronically scanned radar developed by Thales, which has look-down and shoot-down capabilities. The radar can trace up to eight targets simultaneously and provides threat identification and prioritization.
Optronic systems include the Thales / SAGEM OSF infrared search and track system, installed in the nose of the aircraft. The optronic suite carries out search, target identification, telemetry and automatic target discrimination and tracking.
In January 2012, the French Ministry of Defense awarded a ten-year contract to Thales to maintain the electronic systems and warfare of the aircraft.
The aircraft is also equipped with fixed-frequency VHF / UHF radio for communications with civil air traffic control.
The Rafale multi-role combat fighter is powered by two M88-2 engines, each providing a thrust of 75kN.
The radar altimeter is the AHV 17 altimeter from Thales, which is suitable for very low flight. The Rafale has a TACAN tactical air navigation receiver for en-route navigation and as a landing aid.
The Rafale has an SB25A combined interrogator-transponder developed by Thales. The SB25A is the first IFF using electronic scanning technology.
So here we finish..
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