The Quint’s Newsletter: Mighty Fighters Fly Home

India’s wait for its most formidable and sophisticated fighter so far has ended.

Updated28 Jul 2020, 05:53 PM IST
2 min read
The Quint’s Newsletter: Mighty Fighters Fly Home

India’s wait for its most formidable and sophisticated fighter so far has ended.

The Indian Air Force is all set to induct its first batch of Dassault Rafale fighter planes. Stationed in Dubai at the moment, after they left from France on 27 July, the five aircraft will fly into the Ambala airbase on 29 July.

Have the Rafale deliverables been delayed due to COVID-19? Amit Ranjan Giri, Wing Commander (Retd) of the Indian Air Force, says no.

“Not only has the production of the flying machines happened as planned, the other associated deliverables in the contract have also been honoured. The training of the crew which was divided in batches have progressed as expected. Further, the weapons package crowning the Rafale deal is also on track,” he notes.

However, the timing couldn't have been more crucial — what with the 'dragon' needling us.

"Although five Rafales are too few a number in the immediate term, their induction should bring about a shift from a defensive and reactive posture to one of active deterrent posture," writes Air Marshal M Matheswaran AVSM VM PhD (Retd).

With the India-China standoff at its worst since 1967, there are rumours that India may procure a second batch of 44 Rafales.

If true, it would be an "irony of missed opportunities" for India, who could have gained by manufacture within the country with a consolidated contract as originally envisaged, he adds.

Talking of China, where does the Rafale stand with its equivalent in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force? Since Rafale will be the most technologically advanced aircraft of the IAF, it is only fair to compare it with Chengdu J-20, China's most advanced fighter aircraft. Read all about how they compare with each other here.

The Quint’s Newsletter: Mighty Fighters Fly Home

But, in case you didn't know, one of the deciding factors for the IAF to opt for the Rafale as the new addition to its fleet was its operational history. From Afghanistan to Libya to Mali, over the last two decades, Rafale has proven its capabilities. Read all about its history of the missions.

Now as India flexes its military muscles with the induction of the Rafale, it remains to be seen if the omnirole aircraft add a strategic advantage to India's prowess.

Senior Editor, News and Podcasts

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Published: 28 Jul 2020, 05:52 PM IST
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