The Rafale fighter jets have been in the centre of all the media attention in India. Indian Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria praising the French-built jets had earlier stated that there is no question of parity between the Pakistan Air Force and the Indian Air Force while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that with Rafales, India does not need to cross the border.
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The Air Force Chief on Monday said, “The induction of Rafale is important because it will boost the Air Force’s fighting capability tremendously. Once Rafale is inducted, our immediate plan is to make Rafale and Su-30 as a potent force.”
Before being delivered to India, the advanced Rafale fighter jets could undergo heat tests in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). France is a country of cold climate and while India experiences both severe winter and summer.
There is no doubt that Rafale jets will stand India’s winter easily, however, whether it will be able to bear the intense heat or not needs to be tested. It will be tested in the UAE which is at least four to five degrees warmer than India.
According to Defense Ministry sources, talks between the two countries have been held on this issue. The UAE already has a US airbase. Heat tests of Rafale aircraft will begin at this Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi. The tests are likely to be conducted in April or May when the maximum temperature reaches 50 degrees there.
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The objective of these tests is to see if the functioning of these aircraft is impacted by intense heat. If they see any kind of concern, France may have to make technical changes in the aircraft. The proposal given by France states that Indian Air Force officers and experts will be present during the heat test of the aircraft.
The tests will be conducted under the supervision of the Indian side. Four Rafale aircraft are to be brought to India by August. In October, when Defense Minister Rajnath Singh visited Paris, the formalities of handing over the Rafale aircraft were completed. But the aircraft are still in France.