Bengaluru: Hailing Rafale aircraft, Indian Air Force chief RKS Bhadauria has emphasised that they have triggered concerns in the Chinese camp, as per a report in Mint. 

He said, “They had brought their J-20 fighter aircraft (to areas close to Eastern Ladakh) and they go off from there but that is the flexibility of airpower. The moment Indian Rafales were brought in, their J-20 was there. We know their actions and capabilities,” the Air Chief Marshal was quoted by ANI.

He further apprised that talks between the sides are ongoing across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The IAF chief expressed that it will be good if de-escalation and disengagement begins. He mentioned that everything depends on the talks and naturally a lot of attention is being put to that. “If it doesn’t happen or some new situation happens, we're fully prepared,” Bhadauria quipped.

He explained that there have been some pullbacks in terms of air deployments and alterations in the stationing on the Chinese side over time.

Here are the salient features:

1. They will be able to outgun and outrun Pakistani F-16 and JF-17 as well as the Chinese Chengdu J-20 fighters.

2. The upgrades range from radar enhancements, Israeli helmet-mounted displays and low-band jammers to towed decoy systems, 10-hour flight data recording and engine capability for "cold start" from high-altitude regions like Ladakh.

3. All the 36 Rafales, which can also deliver nuclear weapons, are slated to be delivered by end-2021. The Ambala and Hashimara airbases will house 18 each for the western and eastern fronts. The Rafales will significantly add to the qualitative and quantitative edge IAF already enjoys over the Chinese air force along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control.

4. The IAF has also projected the operational need to go in for another 36 Rafales in the backdrop of its depleting number of fighter squadrons as well as both Hasimara and Ambala having the requisite infrastructure to house two squadrons each. But that decision is yet to be taken.

5. The top speed of the aircraft is 2223 km/hr, the maximum weight of the aircraft is 24,500 kg and the range is 3,700 km.

6. It is capable of ground support, aerial reconnaissance, in-depth strikes, interception and nuclear deterrence.