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India to induct Rafale jets today— here are all the special features of India's new combat fighters

India to induct Rafale jets today— here are all the special features of India's new combat fighters
  • The first batch of five Rafale jets from France will formally be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Ambala air base today at 10:00 am.
  • The IAF is expected to deploy the Rafale jets in Ladakh the strengthen their arsenal amid the ongoing border tensions with China.
  • The Rafale fighter jet will be the most advanced fighter aircraft in the IAF’s fleet.
Two months after the first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, they will officially be inducted into the Indian Air Force's (IAF) arsenal at the Ambala air base at 10:00 am today.

The IAF is expected to deploy Rafales in Ladakh in a bid to strengthen its combat capabilities in the sector amid the ongoing border tensions with China. In fact, it was one of the topics discussed during the recently-concluded Air Force commanders' conference.

The Rafale fighter jet will be the most advanced fighter aircraft in the IAF’s fleet. Compared to the SU 30 MKI — currently the best aircraft in the IAF — the Rafale jet is faster, has a wider range and more capabilities.

It's a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft. It is designed and manufactured by a French company called Dassault Aviation. Dassault’s ‘omnirole’ aircraft comes with a host of weapons and can perform a variety of functions — like aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence — according to the company.


Here’s everything you need to know about Rafale fighter jets:


Rafale jet alongside the Indian Ambassador to France and pilots before taking off from France.

Rafale jet alongside the Indian Ambassador to France and pilots before taking off from France.
Indian Embassy in France
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​It’s a twin engine fighter aircraft

​It’s a twin engine fighter aircraft

The Rafale fighter jet is powered by two M88-2 engines from SNECMA. Each engine provides a thrust of 75kN.

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​Rafale fighter jets can help each other out mid-air

​Rafale fighter jets can help each other out mid-air

The Rafale fighter jets are equipped with ‘buddy-buddy’ refueling that also one aircraft to lend its fuel to another while still in flight.

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​It can fire METEOR missiles to take out targets that are out of visual range

​It can fire METEOR missiles to take out targets that are out of visual range

METEOR — a beyond visual range air to air missile — can take out enemy aircraft at a range of over 100 kilometers.

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SCALP missiles can take out on-ground targets 300 kilometers away

SCALP missiles can take out on-ground targets 300 kilometers away

Rafale can be equipped with SCALP missiles, a precision long range ground attack missile, capable of taking out targets within a radius of 300 kilometers.

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​And, carry six AASM missiles at a time

​And, carry six AASM missiles at a time

Each AASM missile has GPS and imaging infrared terminal guidance. It can accurately hit a target with an accuracy of 10 meters.

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​It has a holographic cockpit display

​It has a holographic cockpit display

The fighter jet’s cockpit has been equipped with a display from Thales Avionique. The head-up, wide-angle holographic display manages the aircraft control data, mission data and firing cues.

Its multi-image display at head-level shows the tactical situation and sensor data from around the aircraft. Two lateral displays on either side show the aircraft’s systems and the mission data.

The pilot has his own helmet mounted sight and display aside from the main console.

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​Rafale can aim for eight targets at a time

​Rafale can aim for eight targets at a time

There’s also a RBE2 passive electronically scanned radar developed by Thales on board. It has ‘look-down’ and ‘shoot-down’ abilities that can track up to eight targets at the same time, identify the threats and prioritise accordingly.

Rafale’s radar is more powerful that Su-30 MKI’s PESA Radar.

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​Rafale’s higher survivability

​Rafale’s higher survivability

Rafale’s electronic warfare system, Spectra, is a Thales contribution as well. It’s equipped with solid state transmitter technology, a DAL laser warning receiver, missile warning, detection systems and jammers.

The ability for Spectra to combine the most effective defensive measures based on various combinations of its features gives Rafale a greater chance of surviving in hostile airspace than the Su-30 MKI.

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Rafale’s being customised for the Indian Air Force

Rafale’s being customised for the Indian Air Force

The Rafale fighter jets ordered by India are being customised for the Indian Air Force. They will have the ability to land and take off quickly from high altitude areas like the airbase in Leh.

IAF Rafales will also receive radar warnings to identify hostile tracking systems as well as a towed decoy system to throw off any incoming missile attacks.

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