A year after Pakistan outgunned and outnumbered the Indian Air Force on 27 February through “Ops Swift Retort”, not much has changed on the ground.
Pakistan was armed with better fighter planes, Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles like AMRAAMs and backed by state-of-the-art SAAB airborne warning and control systems (AWACS), and left the Indian Air Force wanting in many places.
From limitations of the Su 30 MKI radar to pick up enemy fighters properly to the technical issue faced by the Mirage 2000 aircraft over firing their Mica air-to-air missile, the list of the shortcomings that the IAF experienced is long.
If Pakistan were to repeat the “Swift Retort” today, the situation doesn’t look great even a year later.
There is, however, a silver lining — the Rafale fighter jets, to be equipped with better weapons package, especially the Meteor air-to-air missile that tilts the scales in India’s favour against both Pakistan and China, will start arriving May onwards.
Neither Pakistan nor China at present has a missile to counter the Meteor, which has a range of nearly 150 km — it’s much higher than the American AMRAAM that had outgunned the Sukhois with a range of over 70 km.
This means that a Rafale would be able to take out an enemy aircraft 150 km away in air without even having to cross the Indian air space.
But it will take at least a year for the first four Rafales to be completely operationalised with their weapons system.