India’s latest winged beauties – Rafales – have to the skies in Ladakh
Bengaluru: India’s latest winged beauties – Rafales – have to the skies in Ladakh.
The latest flying machines were inducted into the Indian Air Force on September 10.
“Rafale pilots have flown the jets from Ambala to Ladakh to familiarize themselves with the operational environment there,” a source said, as reported by the Times of India.
"Induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more opportune time considering security scenario today. Rafale being based in Ambala is important as the fleet can rapidly access all areas of interest from the air base," IAF chief RKS Bhadauria had said.
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.
Last Updated Sep 21, 2020, 1:26 PM IST