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AIR spotlight summary on “The Rafale Deal”



AIR spotlight summary on “The Rafale Deal”


  • India concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of €7.87 billion, the first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90’s. This gives us the 2 squadron worth of Aircrafts. There is a clause for 18 more and as the time goes by the Air force should exercise this option to get the third squadron.
  • When India brought Mirage 2000 in 1985 it included only 2 squadrons, which was later augmented and raised to the 3rd The same thing should be repeated here also.

The Highlights of the Rafale Aircraft

  • The Rafale is a 4th generation Aircraft with twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft. According to Dassault, it is capable of carrying out all combat missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
  • These two squadrons will be like a spearhead or an arrowhead for the IAF formations. They will be used for the long range possessions attack missions.
  • Rafale provides standoff capability when any country attacks India. An active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which enables the pilot to look 200 to 400 kms away. It gives long range precision strike capability, the pilot can detect enemy aircraft and share the information and also destroy the targets.
  • The 4th generation Aircraft capabilities involve Situational awareness in which Aircraft has got those sensors which enable the pilot to be aware situationally and detect the enemy Aircraft for which the Rafale has got AESA radar.
  • The weapons package includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile considered the best in the class with range of over 150 km and Scalp long range air to ground missiles. The Rafale will also be fitted with MICA missiles, an Air to Land precision missile of more than 300 km range.
  • Today the warfare is beyond the range capability and not face to face.
  • This deal includes the cost of 36 Rafale fighters, the full weapons package, simulators, spares, maintenance, performance-based logistics, India-specific enhancements and associated supplies for five years. 
  • This is perhaps the best gift government is giving to IAF on the mark of IAF day on 8th
  • The Rafale Aircraft will give India a superior Nuclear Strike capability and add to the existing nuclear strike capability of Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage-2000.
  • It is the IAF which will spearhead the nuclear deterrence and Rafale will spearhead the deterrence.


  • IAF still needs 400 Aircrafts and need them in a hurry to rebuild to 42 squadrons. They have to replace the MIG-21, MIG-27 and over the years MIG-29 and Mirage-2000.    
  • An indigenous effort in building Tejas Aircraft is moving slowly. There is a need for the IAF to look for another type of Aircraft. Aircrafts could be produced under Make in India drive for domestic use and for exporting too.