The Indian Air Force has requested France to accelerate the delivery of Rafale fighter jets, and Paris is revising its plans to supply the advanced jets to India at a faster pace, HindustanTimes reported quoting sources.
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Six Rafale fighter jets are likely to land at their home base in Ambala on July 27 — instead of four that were originally planned to be delivered in the first batch — as France accelerates efforts to meet the demand of Indian Air Force.
India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016 as an emergency purchase to check the depleting squadrons of jets for a possible two-front war with Pakistan and China.
“We are aware that around 10 Rafale jets are ready at aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s Merignac facility. Preparations are on to fly six Rafale jets to India in July-end with a stopover at Al Dhafra airbase near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The jets will be flown by Indian pilots,” said the second person cited above, also speaking on the condition of anonymity.
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All the 10 fighters are not being delivered in the first batch as some jets are needed in France to train IAF crews, he said. The French air force will refuel the Indian fighters using its Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft on their way to Al Dhafra from where aerial refuelling support is expected to be provided by the IAF’s Russian IL-78 refuellers, the second person said.
Experts said quickening the deliveries of Rafale jets was a massive development amid the ongoing border conflict with China. Apart from the first batch, future deliveries of Rafale fighters are also being expedited, said the source.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
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The Rafale is fitted with two Snecma M88 engines, each capable of providing up to 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburners. The M88 enables the Rafale to supercruise while carrying four missiles and one drop tank.
Although not really a stealth aircraft, the Rafale was designed for a reduced radar cross-section (RCS) and infrared signature, which means it has some stealth features, which have neither been exaggerated neither been over-hyped.
The Rafale core avionics systems employ integrated modular avionics (IMA), called MDPU (modular data processing unit). The total value of the radar, electronic communications and self-protection equipment is about 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft, which is noteworthy.
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The Rafale features an integrated defensive-aids system named SPECTRA, which protects the aircraft against airborne and ground threats. Various methods of detection, jamming, and decoying have been incorporated, and the system has been designed to be highly re-programmable for addressing new threats.
Except for the untested Chengdu J-20, the Pakistan and Chinese Air force have nothing in their arsenal that could counter the Rafale jets.