NEW DELHI: Given the heightened tension along the LAC, the arrival of five Rafale fighters will not only give more teeth to the combat capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF) but also provide a psychological boost to the armed forces.
The twin engine multi-role Rafale brings with it an unmatched missile combination, creating deterrence among the hostile neighbours and multiplying India’s combat effectiveness. The Rafales are armed with Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and Scalp cruise missile. Meteor has a range advantage over the missile in the inventory of Chinese and Pakistan Air Forces.
Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range (HAMMER) — a modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series — might be added to its armoury. Five of the total 36 Rafale fighters will be taken over by IAF pilots on Monday at Dassault Aviation production unit in Merignac, France. The five multirole combat aircraft will land in Ambala on July 29.
The focus will be on operationalisation of the aircraft at the earliest. The first squadron will be based at Ambala. There has been a pressing need to add to India’s combat capability ever since the situation worsened on June 15 when Indian and Chinese troops clashed at LAC.
The addition of the five Rafale fighters will give a boost to the IAF’s combat capability. An airforce officer said the range of the missiles will add to deterrence as well.