By Prof. Vivek Singh
The Indian Air Force has formally inducted 5 Rafale fighter jets of 4.5 Generation. The Indian Air Force has become more strategically powerful. India will get 5 more Rafale fighter jets in October 2020.
The Indian Air Force is the fourth largest air force in the world after the US, China and Russia. The 5 Rafale aircraft manufactured by France’s Dassault Aviation Company took off from Merignac in France and travelled over 7000 km and reached Ambala air base on Wednesday, 29 July 2020, at 3.10 pm. These fighter jets were received by Air Force Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria. The Indian Air Force has joined 5 precious gems which will serve as Brahmastra. The strength of the Indian Air Force has increased many manifolds with the induction of Rafale aircrafts.
The deal to buy these 36 Rafale aircraft was signed by India in 2016 for ₹59000 crore. Of these 36 Rafale aircrafts, 30 are fighter aircrafts while 6 are training aircrafts. The first batch of 5 aircraft reached India on 29 July. India received first Rafale aircraft in 2019 on Vijay Dashami. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja and emblazoned it with ‘Om’ on Rafael. However this led to politics and he faced criticism. According to Indian culture Vijay Dashami has a tradition of performing weapon worship. What Defense Minister Rajnath Singh did was right as per our culture and tradition.
Rafael is a two-engined fighter aircraft. Rafale can fly at a speed of 2200 km per hour. This aircraft can reach an altitude of 60000 feet in one minute. In both air-to-air attack and air-to-ground strike situations, Rafael can hit unmistakable targets. Rafael is capable of lifting more than 24000 kg of weight. This fighter aircraft is fully capable of carrying all types of nuclear weapons. Range of Rafale is up to 3700 km. From the internal Cannon of the Rafale 2500 rounds can be fired in a minute. India will get all 36 Rafale aircraft by 2022. India is the third country in the world to have Rafael. France and Egypt have Rafale aircraft.
It has become mandatory for India to have fighter jets like Rafale in response to threat from China and Pakistan. India needs at least 40 squadrons while we currently have only 32 squadrons today. Many fighter aircraft will retire in a few years. The country will need hundreds of fourth and fifth generation fighters in view of external threats. In the next 10 years, India will need more than 150 advanced types of fighter aircrafts like Rafale.
If politics was not being done by the opposition on the Rafale deal, we would have got Rafael long ago. Due to politics there was a delay in getting Rafael. The Supreme Court had given clean chit to the Narendra Modi government in 2018. After this further work started on this defense deal. On matters related to the security of the country, all political parties should think carefully and act above party politics. Such defense deals should not be hampered. India should focus on making advanced types of fighter aircraft like Rafale in the country.
(The author is columnist, professor of Commerce, Political and Economic Analyst. He can be reached at email@example.com)