The Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to receive first batch of five Rafalecombat aircraft by end of July. The aircraft will be inducted at Air Force Station Ambala on 29 July as per plan. These aircraft will provide the IAF not just with a fast and agile modern fighter but one that comes armed with a highly potent set of weapons from MBDA that are unrivalled by any of India’s neighbours. The European Missile Maker MBDA will be supplying the weapon package for the Rafale. Followings are the details on weapons’ package the Rafale would be loaded with:
The most famous of these weapons is the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. The Meteor is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives Meteor far more engine power, for much longer than any other missile. This means it can fly faster, fly longer, and manoeuvre more than any other missile – giving Meteor the ability to chase down and destroy agile hostile fighters at even the furthers of ranges. As a result, Meteor has a no-escape zone many times greater than any other air-to-air missile.
India’s Rafales will also be equipped with the SCALP deep-strike cruise missile from MBDA. This stealthy weapon has proven repeatedly in combat its unerring ability to strike hardened and protected targets deep inside hostile territory – without the need for the Rafale to enter hostile airspace. SCALP’s operational effectiveness is the result of three key factors: its high survivability thanks to its long stand-off range, low observability and sophisticated mission planning system; its pinpoint terminal accuracy through its highly accurate seeker and target recognition system; and its terminal effectiveness provide by its powerful tandem warhead and multiple detonation modes.
MICA: The Silent Killer
The IAF’s Rafales will also be equipped with MICA, a missile the Indian Air Force knows very well as it is also part of the upgrade package for the IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft. MICA is the only missile in the world featuring two interoperable seekers (active radar and imaging infrared) to cover the spectrum from close-in dogfight to long beyond visual range. Its ability to fly out to BVR in passive mode before the seeker locks on in the final stages of the end game has earned it the nickname “silent killer” as the target has little time to react or to deploy effective countermeasures.
Focus on Operationalisation of Rafale
IAF’s aircrew and ground crew have undergone comprehensive training on the aircraft, including its highly advanced weapons systems and are fully operational now. Post arrival, efforts will focus on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest.
Ahead ofRafale’s arrival, the Air Force Commanders’ Conference (AFCC) will be conducted on 22-24 July to discuss the operational situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). According to an air force communique, the top brass of IAF along with the Air Chief RKS Bhadauria will be brainstorming with the chiefs of the seven commands. During the three day conference the discussions would take stock of the current operational scenario and deployments. The plan of action for operational capability enhancement of the IAF in the next decade will also be discussed.