In the month of July, the Indian Air Force added more firepower in the skies with the induction of the Rafale fighter jets from France. The jets landed at the Air Force base at Ambala in Haryana.
This came at a very crucial time, especially when India continues to be engaged in a tense standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.
This had been a long planned update that the IAF had been looking for and experts have said that the induction of the Rafale fighter jets will be a game changer for India in the regional politics of South Asia. Rafale is categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft due to its radar-evading stealth profile.
This is a significant upgrade for the Indian Air Force as most aircraft in its fleet are the Mirage 200 and Su-30 MKI, which are classified as either third or fourth-generation fighters.
The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft. It can operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. It has been described as a fully versatile aircraft and can carry out all combat aviation missions. This gives it air superiority apart from the fact it largely enhances air defence. Further, it has the capacity to carry out in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and has nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale has been tailor-made for the IAF and it will be a crucial enhancement to India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft fleet.
There are India specific enhancements such as helmet mount sight, radar warning receivers, flight data recorders with enough storage for 10 hours of data, infrared search and track systems, jammers, cold start engine capability, towed decoys to lure incoming missiles away and the ability to operate from high altitude bases.