15 reasons why the Rafale fighter jet makes ‘complete sense’ for India

15 reasons why the Rafale fighter jet makes 'complete sense' for India
A Rafale fighter jet mid-air. Picture: Indian Defence Review

India on Friday signed the deal for direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

The negotiations to buy the Rafale fighter jets came through on Wednesday and French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian arrived in the country on Friday to finalise the deal which will cost India €7.8 billion or Rs 58,000 crore.

Here are 15 reasons why India’s decision to opt for the Rafale fighter jets makes complete sense:

# The deal with France is India’s first fighter jet deal in 36 years. The deliveries of Rafale fighter jets will start in 36 months and conclude in 30 months from the delivery of the first one.

# Unlike most cases, where countries sell decommissioned aircrafts, the Rafale is still in by French Air Force and Navy. In fact, both have placed orders for more Rafales.

# Rafale was built when the French Navy and Air Force wanted the capabilities of seven types of combat aircraft in one.

# Dassault, the French aviation company that manufactures Rafale, has agreed to make India-specific modifications to the planes, including the integration of Israeli helmet-mounted displays.

# India will also get spares and weaponry, including the Meteor missile, which is considered among the most advanced in the world.

# Rafale can carry out roles like air defence, reconnaissance, nuclear deterrence, anti-ship, air-to-ground, and air superiority.

# The aircraft advances features like Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, Front Sector Optronics (FSO) and SPECTRA suite which allows it to track multiple targets at long range despite jammers.

# The fighter jet is capable of realtime data-sharing and carrying out both day and night operations with precision.

# Unlike most jets, which require a dedicated tanker plane to refuel mid-air, two Rafales can share fuel mid-air for limited period.

# Rafale is capable of carrying over 9 tonnes of external load, which will enable the IAF to carry more weapons.

# Rafale can be paired with multiple missiles, including MICA Beyond Visual Range missile, air-to-ground HAMMER, SCALP missile AM39 EXOCET anti-ship missile and laser guided bombs.

# Apart from using the Rafale for local air defence, French forces have successfully used Rafales in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Central African Republic.

# Rafale is built upon the highly successful Mirage 2000 plane, which IAF has extensively used during the Kargil war.

# The Rafale will retire some of IAF’s existing fleet and occupy the mid-level defence segment. The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft will occupy the low-level and Sukhoi Su-30MKI the high-level segments.

# The Rafale will be a game changer in South Asia, as neither of India’s military adversaries, Pakistan or China, have a similar aircraft.

Note: The price of the Rafales has not been included as an ‘advantage’ as the acquisition deal entails multiple intricacies, many of which affect the overall costing.

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