New Delhi. 08 October 2020.  Indian Air Force  has added both strength and stealth to itself by adding  Rafale fighter jets into its inventory. The aircraft are now a part of 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows” since 10th September. It may be recalled that the  first five Indian Air Force Rafale aircraft had arrived at Air Force Station, Ambala from France on 27th July 2020 and the fighter was officially handed over to the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at France on 8th October 2019 .  IAF will receive all the 36 Rafales by April 2022.

Rafale literally meaning “gust of wind” and “burst of fire” in a more military sense. It is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

The French made Indian fighter will be an envy of all the airforces with its MICA, Scalp and Meteor missiles made by French missile major MBDA. Thales provides a RBE2 AESA radar, the Spectra electronic warfare system, optronics, the communication navigation and identification system (CNI), the majority of the cockpit display systems, power generation systems and a logistics support component.

It is fitted with twin Safran M88-2 engines each capable of providing up to 50 kilonewtons (11,000 pounds-force) of dry thrust and 75 kN (17,000 pounds-force) with afterburners. The M88 enables the Rafale to supercruise while carrying four missiles and one drop tank.

The Rafale can carry up to 9.5 tons of payload (21,000 lbs). To support  missions at extended ranges the fighter also carries three 524 gallons (2,000 litre) fuel tanks weighing additional 6.7 tons (14,700 lbs) that will top up the fighter’s internal fuel capacity of 4.7 t (10,300 lbs). These fuel tanks can also be used for ‘buddy refuelling’.

The 2500 rounds per minute NEXTER 30M791 30 mm internal cannon is available on both single and two-seaters Rafale. It has twin gun pod and a Nexter (formerly Giat) 30mm DEFA 791B cannon, which can fire 2,500 rounds a minute. The Rafale is equipped with laser designation pods for laser guidance of air-to-ground missiles.

After France, Egypt and Qatar India is the fourth nation to have inducted the Rafale, a 4.5 generation combat aircraft into it’s air force.