Bengaluru: As shared by the Indian Air Force, images show that newly inducted Rafale aircraft fitted with MICA air-to-air missiles on their wingtips. 

"The induction of Rafale jets is a big and stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty. This kind of induction is very important for the kind of atmosphere that has been created on our borders," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said on the occasion.

Here are the salient features of Rafale aircraft:

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.