India got Rafale fighter jets on the auspicious day of Dussehra. The latest addition to India's aerial firepower was handed to Indian Air Force (IAF) in a ceremony in France. India's defence minister Rajnath Singh accepted the fighter aircraft on country's behalf. The aircraft with radar evading stealth profile is going to boost the airpower of Indian Air Force as it prepares to counter threat from China and Pakistan. The handover ceremony was held on the auspicious day of Dussehra.
Rafale is the latest aircraft in the arsenal of India who faces security challenges in its neighbourhood of South Asia.
Why is Rafale the best in the world?
Rafale's mainstay is 'Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile' and 'Scalp cruise missile'. The missiles can target any aircraft which is beyond the visual range of the pilot. When it comes to destroying target beyond visual range, Meteor is the best missile system in the world.
Another plus-point of Rafale fighter jet is Scalp cruise missile. Scalp is a deep strike-weapon.
Stealth capabilities of Rafale fighter jet means that it is hard to find with the help of Radar. In other words, our enemies will not even know that India's fighter jet is approaching to destroy them.
Rafale fighter jet can lift weight of more than 9 tonnes. That means it can pack some serious firepower in from of missiles to take down enemies.
Controversies surrounding Rafale
Journey of Rafale fighter jet deal saw many ups and downs. While selection of the fighter jet was done during the time of UPA government, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The criticism reached a fever pitch in the run-up to Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
Rahul Gandhi had claimed that Modi-government favoured the Ambanis over state-run companies like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. He claimed that Modi government was not keen on state-run companies to receive technology. Congress had claimed that Narendra Modi had circumvented usual procedures to acquire Rafale and ensured that the deal is beneficial to industrialists. Rahul Gandhi had also coined the slogan 'Chowkidar Chor Hai'. He had had to apologise before court after a nudge from Supreme Court.
The Congress-led coalition received sound drubbing in Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Features and capabilities of Rafale
- Rafale fighter jet advanced than most of the aircrafts available with the Indian Air Force (IAF). Most of the aircrafts are classified as third or fourth generation fighter jets. These include Mirage and Sukhoi. Rafale fighter planes are part of the latest generation of fighter jets.
- As mentioned above, Rafale jets are armed with Meteor and Scalp missile system. These missile systems give India a distinct advantage and superior air-dominance.
- Rafale fighter jets can be used to sink ships as well.
- Besides its attack capabilities, Rafale can be used for reconnaissance missions, that is spying on the enemy.
- French company Dassault has made some modifications to the design based on requirements of Indian Air Force. This includes Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others. This is sure to give the Indian Air Force (IAF) edge over enemy aircrafts.
Watch | Rafale jet carrying Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes off for a sortie