As the existing stand-off between India and China continues along the LAC in Ladakh, the air power of the IAF is under a scanner. the IAF’s latest acquisition french-made Rafale jet will be adding to its might. the first batch of at least six Rafale fighter jets are likely to be flown into the country by July 27. The aircraft will be based out of Air drive Station Ambala, Haryana. Here’s all you need to know about the latest warhorse in the IAF stable. 

About Rafale

Rafale is a twin-motor fighter with single- and double-crew configurations can operate at Mach 1.1 at lower altitude and reach up to Mach 1.8 at higher altitudes. The warplane has an spectacular assortment of much more than 3,700 km with a battle radius of 1,850 km and a rate of climb, which is essential in dogfights, of 340 metres for every next with a support ceiling of 15,285 metres. The most critical element that is offering sleepless evenings to the PLA Air Force is the amazing weaponry of Rafale. India will be integrating European-made SCALP and Meteor prolonged-array beyond visible selection (BVR) air-to-air missile into Rafale so that enemy plane can be stopped lengthy before they get close ample to track the Indian fighter. The aircraft are equipped with two standoff weapons the IAF has never possessed—Meteor air-to-air missiles, with a range of over 100 km, and Scalp air-to-ground missiles, with a range of 500 km. The 10-ton Rafale can carry also a 14-ton payload of fuel and weapons.

How Much Is The Deal Worth

$8.78 billion (Rs 59,000 crore) deal signed in 2016.


The first batch of Rafale will be station in Ambala with Vintage 17 Squadron, while the second batch will be stationed at Hasimara in West Bengal.


Rafale can attain a maximum speed of Mach 1.8/750 kt (2,222.6 km per hour) and can climb to up to 50,000 ft.
Though Rafale can fly up to a range of 3,700 km, it can be refuelled mid-air.
The 15.27 metre long aircraft has wing length of 10.8 metres each.
The aircraft is superior to Sukhoi Su-30MKI in terms of carrying ammunition.
While Sukhoi Su-30MKI can carry ammunition up to 8,000 kg, Rafale can easily carry bombs up to 9,500 kg.


Rafale can carry out all combat aviation missions, including air defence, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.

Its 'delta wings' makes it far superior to its competitors due to extremely stable and supersonic speed.

The aircraft's advanced engine is capable of allowing the throttle to shift from combat to idle power in less than three seconds.

It can jam enemy radars, detect targets anywhere including sea, ground and air.

Other superior capabilities of Rafale include close air support, dynamic targeting, air-to-ground precision strike, anti-ship attack capability and buddy-buddy refuelling.

Why IAF Selected The Rafale?

Worried over the rapidly dwindling number of fighter squadrons in its fleet due to phasing out of certain variants of MIG fighters, the IAF wanted to overcome the shortage. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s home-made Tejas Light Combat Aircraft still needs fine tuning to come up to the IAF’s standards for fully operational fighters. This made the country go shopping for a next-gen fighter.

Delivery Delayed

In October 2019, on a visit to France the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took formal delivery of the first Rafale jet built for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Dassault Aviation’s final assembly facility in Merignac. However, the arrival of the first batch of jets was delayed from May to July due to the COVID-19 restrictions and lock-down in both India and France. About 8-9 weeks of training was left before the lock-down was clamped across the world and delivery of some logistics support and test equipment at the Ambala air base was also delayed.

Contract Signed in 2016

India has contracted 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets from France in fly-away condition with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE) under a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed in September 2016. As per the IGA, deliveries begin 36 months from the signing of the contract and completed in 67 months. However, the Indian standard Rafale with all ISE is operationally expected to be ready latest by September 2021.

Enhance Combat Capabilities

The Rafale jets will enhance IAF's combat capabilities over its adversaries in the neighbourhood. Besides the missile systems, the Rafale jets will come with various India-specific modifications, including Israeli helmet-mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infra-red search and tracking systems among others.

A ‘Game Changer’ For India

Rafale will be a game changer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since most of the aircraft in its inventory, including the Mirage-2000 and the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, are classified as either third- or fourth-generation fighters. The upgraded version of the Mirage and the Sukhoi Su-30MKI can at best reach up to the category of fourth-generation fighters. The indigenously developed TEJAS can be categorised as fourth-generation in terms of avionics and technology. India will only be the fourth country, after France, Egypt and Qatar, to fly the Rafale.