Five Rafale fighter jets are already flying from France to India

PARIS, (BM) – India took a significant step in strengthening air power and defence preparedness with the first five Rafale fighter aircraft, built by Dassault, flying out from Merignac airbase in Bordeaux, France to India, learned according the Embassy of India in France statement.

Read more: India will receive Rafale fighter jets and deploy them near the border with China

This also marks a new milestone in the strong and growing India-France defense cooperation.

The Rafale aircraft will cover a distance of nearly 7000 kms from France to India with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop en route in UAE. They are scheduled to reach India on July 29, 2020.

The first Rafale fighter was handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in October 2019 in a ceremony attended by the French Minister for Armed Forces Madame Florence Parly and the Indian Defence Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh.

Delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.

In accordance with the contract, Indian Air Force pilots and supporting personnel have been provided full training on aircraft and weapon systems by Dassault. Further batches of Indian Air Force personnel will continue the training over the next nine months.

India’s Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf was there to see off the Rafale aircraft. He said that the long awaited and much needed two squadrons of Rafale would add great strength to IAF and our defence capabilities. He met the Indian Air Force pilots and wished them a safe flight to India.

He congratulated them on becoming the first Indian pilots to fly one of the world’s most advanced and potent fighter aircraft and wished them success in meeting the nation’s expectation of playing an important role in India’s defence. He also thanked French Air force for support and Dassault for delivering the aircraft on schedule despite the ongoing pandemic crisis.

Read more: France will deliver Rafale fighter jets to India without delay

Mr. Éric Trappier, Chairman Dassault Aviation and Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, the Air Attaché to France, were also present on the occasion apart from other officials.

India and France have a long history of cooperation in fighter aircraft, which includes India’s acquisition of French Toofanis in 1953, then Mystere, Jaguars and the Mirages.

In a gesture of friendship, Government of France will send an aircraft with medical equipment and experts on July 26 to support India’s efforts against the COVID-19 Pandemic.

India will deploy Rafale fighters near the border with China

As we reported on July 20, India is considering deploying Rafale fighters on the border with China. The newest French Rafale can accommodate in East Ladakh.

The publication, according to sources, claims that it is a complex and lengthy process. France will speed up supplies and instead of 4 planes will send 6 fighters [five are flying to India at the moment – ed.]. So far, the Indian Air Force has 4 Rafale fighters.

Recall that in September 2016, India agreed with France on the supply of 36 aircraft of this type. The order amount is $ 6.5 billion.

According to the original schedule, the French should deliver 18 aircraft to India by February 2021. Then, in April-May 2022, India should receive the rest of the shipment.

Read more: Why India needs the Russian MiG-35 fighters equipped with AI and AESA radar?

Within just two month, the delivery of the French fighters was obscure and dangerous for the Indian Air Force.

What we know about the French Rafale fighetr?

Over the entire period of operation of the aircraft, four accidents occurred, as a result of which five aircraft were lost, several pilots died. The incidents were caused by both technical problems and the human factor.

The Rafale multipurpose fighter is tailless, with a delta wing of a significant area with large influxes. In the front of the machine is an additional high-lying horizontal tail.

The wing has two-section slats and one-section ailerons. Part of the wing is made of titanium alloys, part of carbon fiber. The power plant is twin-engine, located at the rear of the aircraft. Rafale is a single-keel machine.

When creating the machine, composite materials were actively used. One of the tasks that the designers of the “Dassault Aviation” faced was to reduce the fighter’s radar signature.

Composite materials account for 20% of the aircraft area and 25% of its mass. In addition to reducing the visibility of the Rafale, this allowed us to get a gain in mass.

Read more: US experts unexpectedly praised the MiG-35 and recommended India to buy it

It should be noted that although the designers of “Dasso Aviation” paid great attention to reducing the radar visibility of the aircraft, they did not copy the American experience in this direction, but went their own way. As a result, simpler and, most importantly, cheaper solutions were found.

Particularly problematic from the point of view of radar visibility, parts of the fighter (leading edges of the wing and empennage, landing gear flaps) received characteristic sawtooth edges, which significantly reduced their visibility.

The modification for the navy is distinguished by a reinforced chassis design, a special brake hook on the rear of the fighter, as well as a special Telemir system, which synchronizes the operation of the aircraft and ship navigation systems. As a result of such changes, the “marine” Rafale is five hundred kilograms heavier than the land modification.

The power plant of the aircraft consists of two twin-circuit turbojet engines SNECMA M88-2-E4, which are built using the latest technologies and materials used in this area.

They have monocrystalline turbine blades, low-smoke combustion chamber, disks are made of powder alloys. SNECMA M88-2-E4 has excellent characteristics, high controllability, an excellent ratio of the developed thrust to the engine mass. SNECMA M88-2-E4 has a modular design, which greatly facilitates its maintenance and repair.

Engine development for this fighter was a daunting task. The customer demanded a product that worked reliably when the aircraft performed a variety of tasks (maneuverable air combat, high-speed breakthrough of the air defense system).

At the same time, the engine had to have a large resource, excellent thrust-weight ratio and low fuel consumption. The SNECMA M88-2-E4, installed on the Rafal, was the first French third-generation turbojet engine.

All Rafale aircraft are fitted with Messier-Dowty landing gear with forward retraction. The landing gear of ground and deck-based fighters is different, in the latter they are reinforced.

Read more: Coronavirus may delay Rafale fighter jets delivery to India

Cabins for single-seat Rafales are equipped with Martin-Baker Mk.16 ejection seats, and the cab lantern opens to the right. The pilot’s seat is characterized by excellent ergonomics. Data on the operation of aircraft systems and flight and navigation information is displayed on liquid crystal monitors.

Rafale boasts the latest electronics. The aircraft is equipped with a very advanced avionics system, which consists of a new generation Thales RBE2 radar with two-axis electronic scanning, as well as an optical system with a laser range finder and a helmet-mounted target designation system.

There is also an airborne electronic warfare system: the French believe that it is preferable to suppress enemy air defense systems than to hide from them.


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