(This News Is Originally Posted On HT By Shishir Gupta)
India is set to get the remaining six Rafale multi-role jets with country-specific enhancements including long-range air-to-air missiles, frequency jammers, and advanced communications in the coming two months.
According to IAF officials, the first of the three Rafales with India-specific enhancements arriving from Istres-Le Tube air base, north-west of Marseille, France in December while the last three multi-role fighters will be flown into Ambala airbase in January 2022. The Istres airbase is equipped with testbed facilities for manufacturer Dassault Aviation to install India-specific enhancements on Rafale fighters.
It is understood that once the India-specific enhancements are tested to satisfaction in Indian conditions, the existing fleet of 30 Rafales will be retrofitted with the same enhancements in the coming year. The Indian Rafales are based in Ambala to handle the two-front threat and in Hashimara to respond to any emergency in the eastern sector.
Apart from the Meteor air-to-air beyond visual range missiles, the Rafale has potent weapons like SCALP air to ground laser-guided ammunition to target the enemy from over 300 kilometers range and HAMMER precision terrain hugging ammunition which hunts and destroy high-value enemy targets from 60 kilometers away.
With 36 Rafale in its armory, the Indian Air Force will also become much more potent in December with the induction of at least two S-400 air defence systems in India. The Russian S-400 will not only match a similar system deployed with the Chinese Army on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but also deter any aerial threat from across the Tibetan border from 400 kilometers. Indian Air Force with longest beyond visual range air to air missiles onboard Rafale and S-400 air defence system to protect the airbases and skies above, any enemy will think many times before casting an evil eye towards India.