India on Tuesday evening received its latest batch of three Dassault’s Rafale fighter jets which will further strengthen the Indian Air Force offensive capabilities.
These three fighter jets are fitted with India-specific enhancements (ISEs) which enhance the prowess of the country’s air force to combat aggression from rival countries.
“Three Rafale fighter aircraft arrived in India yesterday evening from France. The aircraft were provided aerial refuelling support by the UAE Air Force. With the arrival of these three planes, India has now received 35 of the 36 Rafales for which it had signed a contract with France in September 2016. The 36th aircraft will arrive in India from France by March-end or April first week,” Times Now quotes government officials saying.
These three jets boast 13 ISEs such as Meteor air-to-air missiles. The update of the jet’s software will be done in India as well as include Israeli helmet-mounted displays, low-band jammers to towed decoy systems and a 10-hour flight data recording system along with efficient engine to initiate “cold start” especially in high altitude regions such as Ladakh, the Times of India (TOI) reports.
Meteor missiles are active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles which have a maximum striking range of 200km. Rafales are already armed with “Scalp” air-to-ground missiles with a range of 300km.
The 36th and last jet will be delivered in April after being fitted with ISEs and completing the required technical tests. “A French team is in India for the ongoing hardware and software upgrade for the jets delivered earlier. Two to three jets will be retrofitted with the ISEs per month,” TOI quoted a source saying.
Out of the overall Euro7.8 billion contract for the 36 jets, the ISEs have cost India about Euro1.3 billion.
The Rafale jets are 4.5-generation fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Industries in France. India. The Rafale jet has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (at high altitude) or 1912 kmph. The combat range is 1,850 km. Out of the 36 jets ordered by India, 28 are single seat and 8 are twin-seater.
India is also focusing to boost its air prowess by investing in its indigenously-developed LCA Tejas fighter jet. Last year in February, the Union Cabinet headed by PM Modi gave a green signal to the IAF’s 83 LCA-MK-1A order worth ₹48000 crores which was awarded to HAL.