Few shots from 30,000 feet! Mid air refuelling of Rafale Jets on their way to India (Photo: India in France/Twitter)
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will receive five Rafale jets that will land at the Ambala air base on Wednesday for induction.
The jets flew out from the Merignac air base in the French port city of Bordeaux and after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km landed at Al Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates on Monday night.
The fleet comprises three single seater- and two twin seater- aircraft. They will be inducted into the Indian Air Force as part of its No 17 Squadron, also known as the Golden Arrows at Ambala air base.
The Air Force has stated that the pilots, ground crew and the fighter will be operationally ready as the jets reach India.
Rafale would be a game changer in the current scenario when India is facing border tension with China in Eastern Ladakh. It is being stated that it will increase India’s air power manifold.
Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture.
Senior Indian Air Force officers state that China’s premier fighter jet Chengdu J-20A is no match to Rafale capabilities which has been seen in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
China claims that its J-20 is a 5th generation fighter aircraft, however, it has a 3rd generation engine, said a senior IAF officer questioning stealth capabilities of the aircraft.
China is now going to buy Russian Su35 to match Rafale.
The officer also said that Rafale is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie. However, China J-20 cannot carry out multiple missions in one go.
Further, the Rafale fighter aircrafts will have HAMMER missiles. It will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.
The meteor missile in Rafale makes it far more potent than the J-20. The officer also explained that the Rafale engine is better in terms of reliability, longevity and maintainability.
The officer further pointed out that Rafale can lift loads up to 1.5 times its weight, which means it can carry weapons and fuel of far greater capacity than the J-20.
In Western Theatre Command, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has deployed 157 fighters and 20 GJ-1/WD-1K precision strike UAVs.
India has deployed 270 fighter aircrafts and 68 ground attack aircrafts.