How Will Rafale Transform Indian Air Force’s Combat Potential

On July 29, amid Covid-19 pandemic, Rafale fighter jets landed in India from France, travelling almost 8,500 km. Let’s look at some of the capabilities that Rafale brings to the table.


Rafale is equipped with AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar and frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor. What is an AESA in a nutshell? It is nothing but a non-moving radar whose beams are electronically steered through small modules called TR (Transmit Receive) modules.

Since non-rotating equipment, its failure rate is very low. Since using TR modules, it can vary parameters in a manner that its performance in dynamic situations will be far better. IRST is a passive system that looks for hot objects both on ground and in air, currently there is no counter measure to IRST.

Using AESA Radar and IRST Rafale employs two potent missiles to shoot down enemies very far, namely MICA & METEOR missiles. They have very high ranges nearly 80+ km for MICA and 100+ km for METEOR. To put things in perspective, Pathankot to Gujranwala is less than 100 km.

Rafale carries varied air-to-ground munitions. SCALP EG missile with multispectral sensor to guide itself to the target accurately and with a range of 560 km. To put things in perspective, Pathankot to Islamabad or Sargodha is only 280 km.

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