New Delhi: India will receive five Rafale fighter jets by the end of July 2020, said Indian Air Force on Monday.
“The aircraft will be inducted at Air Force Station Ambala on 29 July subject to weather. No media coverage is planned on arrival,” said IAF in a statement. It said that the final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August 20. IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. “Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest,” said IAF.
India had asked France to speed-up the deliveries of the Rafale fighters. According to the original plan, 4 Rafale jets were to arrive in India by July end.
Rafale jets will give India an edge over China and Pakistan as they will be armed with the most advanced beyond visual range Meteor air-to-air missiles which have a range of upto 150 kilometers. Meteor has the ability to chase down and destroy agile hostile fighters at even the furthest of ranges and has a no-escape zone many times greater than any other air-to-air missile.
Both Pakistan and China Air Force don’t have a missile to counter it. These Meteor air-to-air missiles will prove deadly during a dogfight. Rafale fighters will also be armed with Scalp cruise air to surface missiles, which have a range of over 300 kilometers.
IAF’s Rafale will also be equipped with MICA missile, which has two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. Its ability to fly out to BVR in passive mode before the seeker locks on in the final stages of the end game has earned it the nickname “silent killer” as the target has little time to react or to deploy effective countermeasures.
In 2016, India had signed a Rs 59,000 crore deal for 36 Rafales which will be based in Ambala and Hasimara (West Bengal) air bases.
Meanwhile, IAF said that Air Force Commanders’ Conference (AFCC) will be conducted from 22-24 July at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) New Delhi. The theme of the conference is "IAF in the Next Decade".
Defence minister Rajnath Singh is likely inaugurate the AFCC on 22 July. The defence secretary and secretary defence production are also expected to be present during the inauguration. The conference will take stock of the current operational scenario and deployments. The plan of action for operational capability enhancement of the IAF in the next decade will also be discussed, said the statement.