Context: The five Rafale fighter jets that landed in India will resurrect the Number 17 Golden Arrows squadron of the Indian Air Force.

More on the news:

  • India concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of €7.87 billion.
  • When all the 36 Rafale jets are delivered by 2022, it will take it to 32 squadrons, still well below the 42 squadrons of the sanctioned strength.

About the Rafale jet

  • The state-of-the-art 4.5 Generation Rafale jet can reach almost double the speed of sound, with a top speed of 1.8 Mach
  • With its multi-role capabilities, including electronic warfare, air defence, ground support and in-depth strikes, the Rafale lends air superiority to the Indian Air Force

Source: IE

Significance of Rafale jets

  • Combat experience or Rafale
    • While China’s J20 Chengdu jets are called fifth generation combat jets and have zero combat experience, the 4.5 generation Rafale is combat proven, having been used by the French Air Force for its missions in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali. 
    • Rafale can also carry more fuel and weapons than the J20.
  • Advance weaponries
    • The Rafale jets come with one of the most advanced Meteor air-to-air missiles. 
      • The missile has a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) of over 100 km, traveling at a top speed of Mach 4. 
      • The F16 jets, used by Pakistan, carry the AMRAAM missile, which has a BVR of 75 km.  Therefore, Rafale can also outperform F16 in dogfights.
    • The Rafale jets also come with SCALP, the air-to-ground cruise missile with a range over 300 km. It is a long-range deep strike missile.
    • The MICA air-to-air missile on Rafale jet is for both, close-quarter dogfights, and for BVR. 
    • India has also asked for HAMMER (Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range).
      • It is an air-to-ground precision guided missile produced by French conglomerate Safran.
      • It can be used against bunker-type hardened targets within the range of 70 km.
  • The Rafale Aircraft will also give India a superior Nuclear Strike capability and add to the existing nuclear strike capability of Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage-2000.


Image Source: IE