Boosting India’s air dominance

10/10/2019

The induction of Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force will give a boost to India's air dominance exponentially. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets and flew a sortie in the MMRCA fighter jet from a French airbase in Paris to gain first-hand experience of the aircraft. The first Rafale bears a tail number ‘RB 01', where 'RB' stands for Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, who played an important role in negotiations for procuring 36 Rafale jets in the flyaway condition. India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles and the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from there. The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
After the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in February this year, Prime Minister Modi said, "Rafale fighters could have delivered even better results". His reference was apparently to the stealth of Rafale, an air-dominance aircraft manufactured by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Since India was waiting for deliveries of Rafale when the attacks happened, the Indian Air Force deployed a dozen Mirage-2000 aircraft, made by the same company to hit the targets. Rafale is a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that is said to boost India’s air dominance exponentially, currently safeguarded by fighter jets like Russia made Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29, along with French Mirage-2000 and indigenously built HAL Tejas.
The Defence Minister said that he is happy that the delivery of Rafale aircraft is on schedule. Manufactured by French firm Dassault Aviation, the aircraft will arrive in India only next year after refitment to Indian specifications and training of pilots and personnel. During the sortie, the Defence Minister sat in the rear cockpit while a French pilot flew the customised aircraft with tail number RB-01.

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