INDIA GETS ITS FIRST RAFALE
After so many controversies and disputes India finally got the formal delivery of its first Rafale fighter jet. Rafale is handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the foundation day of the Indian Air Force. He received the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets and flew a sortie in the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft ) fighter jet from a French airbase in Paris to gain first-hand experience of the aircraft. The first Rafale got a tail number ‘RB 01′, where ‘RB’ stands for Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, who played an important role in negotiations to procure 36 Rafale jets in the flyaway condition. However, the combat jet will be seen flying in skies from May 2020. Defence Minister has already termed it as ‘the game changer’ for Indian Air Force.
MEANING OF RAFALE
Rafale is a French word which means “a sudden, brutal gust of wind” and is a French-origin Delta winged twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft. Rafale jets are manufactured and designed by Dassault Aviation. Along with the French Military including Air Force and Navy, countries like Egypt and Qatar are the current three operators of the Rafale MMRCA, while India is the fourth country to join this list. Rafale can be used for numerous roles including Air dominance, interdiction, aerial race, accurate long-range strikes including in the maritime environment.
ABOUT THE DEAL
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. Rafale aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles. The first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala Air force station, which is considered as one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from there. The second squadron of Rafale will be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
ABOUT RAFALE JETS
Rafale is a French-designed twin-engine, delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft. Rafale is categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft for its radar-evading stealth profile, will be a master one for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since most of the aircraft in its inventory – including the Mirage 2000 and the Su-30 MkI – are classified as either third- or fourth-generation fighters.
The Rafale can fly at speeds of 1.8 mach (2,222.6km per hour) and can climb to a height of 50,000 feet. It has a range of 3,700km, which can be increased with mid-air refuelling. The fighter jet is 15.27 metres long from nose to tail, has a wing span of 10.8 metres and a wing surface area of 45.7 square metres. It can carry 9,500kg of bombs and munitions.
This is more than the Sukhoi 30 MK1, which can carry loads of up to 8,000 kg, say military experts. France has promised to ensure that at least 75 per cent of the Rafale fleet is combat-worthy at any given point, failing which, heavy penalties will be invoked.
|Wing span||10.90 m|
|Overall empty weight||10 t (22,000 lbs) class|
|Max. take-off weight||24.5 t (54,000 lbs)|
|Fuel(internal)||4.7 t (10,300 lbs)|
|Fuel(external)||up to 6.7 t (14,700 lbs)|
|External load||9.5 t (21,000 lbs)|
|Max. thrust||2 x 7.5 t|
|Limit load factors||-3.2 g / +9 g|
|Max. speed||M = 1.8 / 750 knots|
|Approach speed||less than 120 knots|
|Landing ground run||450 m (1,500 ft) without drag-chute|
|Service ceiling||50,000 ft|