Rafale fighter jets, the mighty war-machines, landed on Indian soil on afternoon on Wednesday. The fighter jets not only improve Indian firepower in the sky but are also a gamechanger in South Asian region. Rafale fighter jets give India a distinct edge in power equation of South Asia in times when China is increasing hell-bent on misadventures along Line of Actual Control.
Watch the historic moment when Rafale fighter jets landed at Ambala airbase.
The five Rafale fighter jets that landed at Ambala airbase on Wednesday travelled the vast distance of 7000 kms from Merignac airbase in France. The fighter jets began their journey on Monday.
On Wednesday, Rafale fighter jets received a grand welcome on Ambala airbase. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria was present at the airbase to witness the historic moment.
When Rafale fighter jets entered Indian airspace on Wednesday, IAF's Sukhoi fighter jets escorted the Rafales as they approached Indian mainland. Warships of Indian Navy were positioned in the Arabian Sea as Rafales marched on.
Rafale fighter jets pack a punch. Along with their regular capacities, Rafale fighter jets have also been modified as per India-specific needs. Rafale fighter jets' capabilities give India tactical and strategic depth.
Rafale fighter jets are equipped with the deadly Meteor, MICA and SCALP missiles.
What are Meteor missiles?
Meteor missiles are a game-changer. They are air-to-air missiles that work 'beyond visual range'. This means that even if the pilot cannot locate enemy aircraft with his eyes, he/she can aim and fire the missile which will hit and destroy enemy aircraft. The Meteor is powered by a unique rocket-ramjet motor that gives Meteor far more engine power, for much longer than any other missile. This means it can fly faster, fly longer, and manoeuvre more than any other missile – giving Meteor the ability to chase down and destroy agile hostile fighters.
Every missile has a 'no escape zone', if a target aircraft is within this zone, it is hard for it to evade the missile and save itself. Greater the 'no escape zone', better is the missile.
Meteor missiles have a no-escape zone many times greater than any other air-to-air missile.
SCALP missiles: How deadly are they?
India’s Rafales will also be equipped with the SCALP deep-strike cruise missile. This stealth weapon has repeatedly proven its ability to strike armoured and protected targets deep in enemy terrotory.
The best part? Rafale fighter jet does not have to enter enemy airspace to fire SCALP missile.
- It has a long stand-off range which boosts its survivability.
- It is a stealth weapon. This means the enemy cannot easily track the missile, even with the help of RADAR.
- It has pinpoint terminal accuracy. This means that once fires, SCALP missiles destroy the target with pinpoint accuracy.
- It has highly accurate seeker and target recognition system.
This stealthy weapon has proven repeatedly in combat its unerring ability to strike hardened and protected targets deep inside hostile territory – without the need for the Rafale to enter hostile airspace. SCALP’s operational effectiveness is the result of three key factors: its high survivability thanks to its long stand-off range, low observability and sophisticated mission planning system; its pinpoint terminal accuracy through its highly accurate seeker and target recognition system; and its terminal effectiveness provide by its powerful tandem warhead and multiple detonation modes.
MICA missiles: What makes them a 'silent killer'?
The IAF’s Rafales will also be equipped with MICA, a missile the Indian Air Force knows very well as it is also part of the upgrade package for the IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft.
MICA missiles are unique because its active RADAR and imaging infrared makes it deadly in a close-quarter dogfight and also in long 'beyond-visual' range.
MICA missiles have a nickname 'silent killer' as the target has little time to react before it is destroyed completely.
(With inputs from Manish Prasad)