The 36th Rafale
For the next three months, France will deliver three Rafale fighters per month, with the final of the 36 omni-role fighters carrying all 13 India-specific enhancements set to arrive in January 2022. While 26 Rafale fighters from the 4.5 generation are currently operating from Ambala in the western sector and Hashimara in the eastern sector, 3 additional Dassault fighters will arrive at Jamnagar base on October 13 with the support of close ally UAE mid-air refueller.
In November, three more are slated to be delivered, with three more joining the Indian Air Force (IAF) in December.The 36th Rafale fighter, on the other hand, will be outfitted with all-India enhancements to make the platform more dangerous. The Hammer air-to-ground, SCALP land-attack, and Meteor air-to-air missiles used by Rafale already have India-specific improvements such as extended reach, height, and accuracy.
The previous 35 fighters will not be fitted with all of the modifications until the 36th fighter has landed and tested all India-specific enhancements, along with some technologies with Israeli roots.While the India-specific improvements are still classified, they are considered to include a more powerful radio altimeter, radar warning receiver, low band jammer, flight data recorder, high-altitude engine start-up, synthetic aperture radar,
ground moving target indicator and tracking, infrared search and track, helmet-mounted display, missile approach warning systems, and very high-frequency radar.France, one of India's closest strategic allies, has already delivered the IAF the updated Rafale missiles and ammunition. While the Meteor missile is the finest in its class in India, the Hammer and SCALP missiles offer pinpoint accuracy, last-minute target adjustment capability, and radar evasion.
These weapon systems include numerous guidance facilities, ensuring that the enemy cannot jam the missile in air-to-air or ground-attack mode, and may be used in stand-off mode for land targets over 70 kilometres away.While the Indian Navy is examining the Rafale-Maritime fighter for its indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which will be launched next August, the Indian Air Force has been instructed to reduce its fighter squadron strength due to Rafale's increased capability.
In terms of turnaround and maintenance, one Rafale squadron is thought to be close to 2.5 Russian Su-30 MKI squadrons. With the addition of the S-400 air defence system to the Indian fighting capability, the IAF's capability will be multiplied even more.
Source: Hindustan Times
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