Rafale is a 4++ generation, twin-engine aircraft designed and developed by French aerospace company “Dassault Aviation”. Rafale is an Omni role(Multi-Role) by design. It can perform a variety of task including
- Air superiority/Air Defense
- Close Air Support
- Ground Attack Missions
- Nuclear Deterrence
Rafales can carry 9.5 tonnes of munitions on 14 hardpoints which gives a clear edge to the Indian air force in the region.
Meteor missile is manufactured by MBDA. It is considered as the most lethal air to air missile. It is powered by a ramjet which gives it more speed and higher maneuverability. To ensure total target destruction, the missile is equipped with both impact and proximity fuses and a fragmentation warhead that detonates on impact or at the optimum point of intercept to maximize lethality. Its weight is about 190 kg while Length 3.7 m. It has a diameter of 178 mm.
It provides an edge to Indian Air Force in air to air combat. While speaking at a seminar “Air Power in ‘No War No Peace’ Scenario”, Indian air Cheif RKS Bhadauria explained that the induction of the Rafales armed with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor missiles, will give the IAF an edge over the Pakistan Air Force in terms of BVR technology.
MICA is an air to air missile being developed by MBDA. It is an ideal solution for BVR and SR environment. Indian Air Force is already MICA with their Mirage 2000s. It has a weight of 112 kg with a length of 3.1 m and a diameter of 160 mm. It can be used as Beyond Visual Missile (BVR) and Within Visual Range (WVR).
SCLAP is a deep strike air to ground weapons.
It’s characteristics Includes
• Weight: 1300 kg
• Length: 5.10 m
• Range: In excess of 250 km
Storm shadow is being operationalized with Royal Air Force and French Air Force since 2003. It played a major role during ground strikes in Libya, Iraq, and Gulf.
Some other armaments includes:
- Laser-guided Bombs of warhead from 500-2000 lb
- Cannon Gun
- The NEXTER 30M 791 30 mm internal cannon which can fire 2500 rounds in a minute.
For Anti-Ship Missions/Maritime patrolling, Rafale can carry AM-39 Exocet Missiles.
Rafale aircraft is equipped with RBE2 AESA radar being developed by Thales. According to Desault, “The RBE2-AESA is fully compatible in terms of detection range with the upcoming long range METEOR air-to-air missile. The AESA offers an unprecedented growth-potential for the future.”
- Wing span: 10.90 m
- Length: 15.30 m
- Height: 5.30 m
- Overall empty weight: 10 t (22,000 lbs)
- Max. take-off weight: 24.5 t (54,000 lbs)
- Fuel(internal): 4.7 t (10,300 lbs)
- Fuel(external): up to 6.7 t (14,700 lbs)
- External load: 9.5 t (21,000 lbs)
- Total Hardpoints: 14
- Speed: 750 knots
According to Indian analysts, Pakistan needs at least 2 American F-16 aircraft to counter a single Rafale. Indian Analysts as well as Indian Prime Minister is considering Rafale a “Game Changer”.
Ambala’s “Strategic Importance”:
Ambala is located at about 200 kilometers north of Indian Capital New Delhi. During Balakot Air Strikes, Mirage 2000 of Indian Air force also took off from this airbase. This airbase also played a major role in the Kargil war.
India Defense Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh said that “This aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are amongst the best in the world. Its arrival in India will make the IAF much stronger to deter any threat that may be posed on our country.”
In September 2016, India signed a deal of 36 Rafales with France. That deal includes 28 single-seaters while 8 dual-seat aircraft.
Indian Rafales will also feature some India specific Specifications such as
• Israeli helmet mounted displays
• 10 hours flight data recording
• Engine specifications for “Cold Start”
• low-band jammers
These Rafael are equipped with Martin-Baker’s Mk-16 ejection seats.