IAF gets lethal Rafale: More about the beasts which have landed in Ambala

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Published: July 29, 2020 4:10 PM

These aircraft are coming through the route of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for around Rs 58,000 crore (€7.87 billion) for 36 machines in September 2016. And as per the contract, there are 6 twin-seat and 30 single-seat fighters.

All the Rafale fighters for India will have their unique tail number, and every fighters and trainer have a different set of alphabets as initials. (Image: Indian Air Force)

Last year on Oct 8, French Aerospace Company Dassault Aviation had formally handed over 1+3 `Rafale’ to the defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a ceremony in Paris. The date was considered to be auspicious as per the Indian calendar and it was also coinciding with the 87th birth anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Since then, the French company has handed over 10 fighters to the Indian side. While five have flown to the Air Force Station, Ambala, escorted by two tankers, the rest of the five will be used for training the pilots and ground crew of the IAF who are undergoing intensive training there.

On Wednesday, Group Captain Harkirat Singh and his boys landed the latest fighting machines at Ambala, five in all, two twins seaters (RB series) and three single-seaters (BS series),

The Ambala Air Force base is also home to the Jaguar squadron. And the positioning of the Rafale will help in rapid deployment – whether it is any threats from Pakistan or China.

All the Rafale fighters for India will have their unique tail number, and every fighters and trainer have a different set of alphabets as initials. The first aircraft which was handed over had the tail number ‘RB 01’, which is the initial of the Air Chief RKS Bhadauria. Why? “It’s because the Air Chief RKS Bhadauria was the lead in negotiating team for the deal, “explained a senior officer.

Who are the other customers?

Besides India, other countries who have ordered for these fighters include France, Egypt and Qatar.

India has another French fighter in its fleet — Mirage 2000.

The crew went through intense training of 1500 hours to validate the India Specific Enhancements (ISE) on it.

As has been reported earlier, these aircraft are loaded with the next-generation avionics and have been built according to the Indian specifications.

These aircraft are coming through the route of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for around Rs 58,000 crore (€7.87 billion) for 36 machines in September 2016. And as per the contract, there are 6 twin-seat and 30 single-seat fighters.

Compared to Chinese J20A …

According to experts, China’s premier fighter jet Chengdu J-20A is no match to Rafale capabilities. The Rafale India has got has already seen action in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

Though the Chinese claim that the J-20 is a 5th generation fighter aircraft, experts, however, say that it’s a 3rd generation fighter. China has been in talks with Russia to buy Su-35 fighters.

While the Rafale is an Omni role aircraft (has the ability to carry four missions in one sortie). And the Chinese J-20 does not have the capability to carry multiple mission in one go.

According to reports, in the Western Theatre Command, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has 157 fighters and 20 GJ-1/WD-1K precision strike UAVs deployed.

The second home for the Rafales will be at Hasimara base in West Bengal. IAF has spent around Rs 500 crore in building the infrastructure including shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities.

Finally …

While the Russian fighters come in the knocked down condition in huge crates, from Western countries they are flown in. However, it will technically take time for the fighters to be integrated into the IAF.

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