Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets and operated a sortie in the MMRCA warrior jet from a French airbase in Paris to get the first-hand knowledge of the aircraft. Rafale is given over to Singh on the establishment day of the Indian Air Force. The first Rafale has a tail number ‘RB 01’, where ‘RB’ stands for Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, who performed an essential role in negotiations for getting 36 Rafale jets in the flyaway state.
India had approved an inter-governmental deal with France in September 2016 for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets at the cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. The aircraft is able of providing a range of potent hardware and missiles, and the first unit of the apparatus will be deployed at Ambala air force station, rated one of the most strategically placed strips of the IAF. The Indo-Pak border is about 220 km from there. The second group of Rafale will be posted at Hasimara centre near West Bengal.
Here’s a look at the story and terms of the Dassault Rafale to know what makes this Fighter Jet so unique for the Indian Air Force.
Importance of Rafale
Following the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in February this time, Prime Minister Modi said, “Rafale planes could have achieved even better results”. His article was obviously to the stealth of Rafale, an air-dominance aircraft produced by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Since India was waiting for deliveries of Rafale when the attacks happened, the Indian Air Force used a dozen Mirage-2000 aircraft, made by the same group to hit the marks.
Rafale is a Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that is supposed to support India’s air dominance exponentially, currently safeguarded by rival jets like Russia made Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29, along with French Mirage-2000 and indigenously developed HAL Tejas.
In the day of the Rafale debate, a look at why India needs the Rafale battle aircraft. (Image: Network18 Creative) A look at why India needs the Rafale combat aircraft. (Image: Network18 Creative)
Origin of Rafale
Rafale is a French word signifying “gust of wind” and is a French-origin Delta winged, twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft built and produced by Dassault Aviation. The first element of Rafale came into light in the mid-1970s, when both the French Air Force and Navy showed a need for a new crop of fighters. In early ’80s Dassault was formally declared to build aircraft for the French government, and the trial started in 1991. The result of the first aircraft group began in late 1992 but was discontinued in 1995 due to political and economic change.
The composition was restarted in 1997 after an initial order of 48 aircraft was ordered by the Ministry of Defence followed by further law of 59 Rafale in 2004 and 60 aircraft in 2009. The French Air Force chief operational Rafale squadron, EC 1/7 “Provence”, was placed at Saint-Dizier airbase in 2006. Along with the French Military including Air Force and Navy, nations like Egypt and Qatar are the accessible administrators of the Rafale MMRCA, while India will join the list this year itself.