Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to receive the first batch of four Rafale fighter aircraft as part of a controversial deal with France next month, according to a report by the Financial Express. Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, the aircraft will come equipped with Meteor missile, SCALP ground attack missiles with a range of up to 300 Kms.
Upon receiving the aircrafts, Air Force will begin extensive trials of the combat fighter jets before actually inducting them in the service next year. Training of the first batch of officers and technicians is already under way with the French Air Force.
Speaking about the fighter jets, the Defence Ministry had said that Rafale aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force strategic deterrence and requisite capability to engage targets at long ranges.
India has signed an agreement to purchase two squadrons (36) of the twin-engine multi-role aircraft, capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and decided to base one each on its western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China.
Strategic deterrence is a strategy under which a country uses the threat of reprisal effectively to preclude an attack from an adversary. Last year, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had termed the introduction of the Rafale and the Russian S-400 missile defence system as “game-changer”.
IAF used the Mirage-2000 to struck a terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February this year. The upgrade would keep the aircraft operationally relevant for future combat operations. However, it was said that If India had Rafale at the time, the outcomes could have been more favourable for country.