MERIGNAC AIRBASE NEAR BORDEAUX IN FRANCE
- India had bought 36 fighter planes from Dassault Rafale for an estimated Rs 58,000 crore, through an
- inter-governmental agreement signed in 2016.
- The first fighter jetwas handed over to the Indian Air Force in October 2019, in France, in a ceremony attended by Defence Minister RajnathSingh and French Minister for Armed Forces Florence Parly.
- The delivery of all the 36 jets is scheduled by the end of 2021.
- Of the ten delivered to the Air Force, five are in France for training. Pilots and support personnel of the Indian Air Force have been given complete training about the aircraft and the weapon systems by Dassault in France.
- According to the Indian Embassy in France, IAF batches will continue to be trained in France for the next nine months.
- The aircraft will be inducted at Air Force Station Ambala
- The final induction ceremony will take place in the second half of August.
- The IAF aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems, which are fully operational now.
- Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest, IAF had stated.
- The first jets will comprise the resurrected No 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the Air Force, and will be stationed in Ambala.
- The Golden Arrows were raised in 1951 and have been involved in a number of significant operations through their history, including the KargilWar. But after the Air Force started to phase out the Mig-21, which were operated by the Golden Arrows, the squadron was disbanded in 2016.
THE NUMBERS NOT ENOUGH
- The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on the Rafale and its weapons package make it a formidable platform, said Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha(retd), a former IAF chief. “The Rafale will be a battle winner for the IAF and a huge morale booster at a time of military tensions with China. However, I feel the numbers are not adequate,”
- The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime’s decision to buy 126 Rafale aircraft, 108 of which were to be made in India by HAL using parts imported from France.
- The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s decision to enter into a government-to-government deal with France to buy 36 Rafale warplanes was announced in April 2015 with the deal signed a little over a year later.
- The IAF’s Rafale jets will be armed with Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, Mica multi-mission air-to-air missiles and Scalp deep-strike cruise missiles—weapons that will allow fighter pilots to attack air and ground targets from standoff ranges and fill a significant capability gap
- The Rafale’sempty weight is 10 tonnes and its maximum take-off weight is around 25 tonnes. Even transport aircraft don’t have that kind of payload fraction. The Rafale can carry a lot of weapons
METEOR BEYOND-VISUAL-RANGE AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE
- The Meteor’s no-escape zone is touted to be three times greater than that of current medium range air-to-air missiles.
MICA MULTI-MISSION AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES
- An anti-air multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system. It is intended for use both by air platforms as individual missiles as well as ground units and ships, which can be equipped with the rapid fire MICA Vertical Launch System.