Hello defence lovers! The Dassault Rafale is currently the best fighter of the Indian Airforce. Rafale’s manufacturer, Dassault Aviation is not a new company to supply India with its modern fighters. Indian military right from the Independence has many aircraft manufactured by this French firm. In this article, we are going to discuss all these fighters in detail.
In March 1945, aviation designer Marcel Bloch returned to France from captivity in the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. He was eager to re-establish the aviation industry through the development and production of an all-French-made fighter, powered by newly developed jet propulsion technology. In early 1946, Marcel Bloch renamed his company Dassault, after his brother’s wartime codename in the French Resistance Movement. A new aviation company was born which was going to produce many great fighters over the coming years.
Dassault Aviation has supplied India with many great fighters. These include the Ouragan (also known as Toofani), Mystere IV, Alize, Jaguar, mirage 2000, and Rafale.
Ouragan was the first product of Dassault Aviation. It was broadly inspired by the American f 86 sabers. On 25 June 1953, the Indian government placed an order for 71 Ouragans. The first four fighters were delivered by air in late October 1953. The remaining aircraft were delivered by the sea route. By mid-1954, all Ouragans were delivered. In March 1957, the Indian government gave two additional orders for 20 and 13 second-hand Ouragan. This took the total number of Ouragans to 104. Purchasing the Ouragan was part of India’s plan to diversify its supply sources.
In the Indian airforce, the Ouragans were renamed Toofani which was the Hindi equivalent of the French word “Ouragan”. Over the next few years, these Toofanis were going to play a very important role.
In 1961, Indian Toofanis were used to support the Indian army’s ground troops which engaged with Portuguese forces on the island of Diu on the western coast, near Gujrat. Toofanis were also used in ground-attack missions against anti-government rebels in Assam and Nagaland. These were also used to perform reconnaissance missions during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
By 1957, Ouragans were slowly replaced by Mystere IV. Although these remained in service till 1967.
Mystere IV (1957-1973)
Indian airforce procured 104 Dassault Mystere IVA in 1957 to replace the Ouragans. These fighters were used extensively during the 1965 India-Pakistan War.
On 16 September 1965, an India Airforce Mystère IVA shot down a Pakistani L-19. On 7 September an Indian Mystère was damaged in the air by a Pakistani Lockheed F-104 Starfighter in a raid over Sargodha. The much faster Starfighter inadvertently accelerated in front of the Mystère and was shot down. Both the Mystère and the Starfighter crashed. The Pakistani pilot was able to eject and parachute down safely but the Indian air force pilot Squadron Leader Ajjamada Boppayya Devayya was martyred in the crash and was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously, 23 years after the battle for his supreme sacrifice.
During the 1965 war campaign Mystère IVs also destroyed many Pakistani aircraft on the ground including four F-86F, three F-104, and 2 Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The retirement of these Mystre IV started soon after the 1965 war. These were being replaced by the Mikoyan Mi 21. However, few Mystere also participated in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Soon after the 71 war, all remaining Mysteres were phased out by 1973.
Alize is a turboprop carrier base anti-submarine aircraft developed by the French company Breguet. Later on, this company was merged with Dassault Aviation. Indian navy acquired 12-17 Alize. The Indian Navy operated the Alizé from shore bases and later from the light carrier INS Vikrant. The Alizé was used for reconnaissance and patrol during India’s 1961 liberation of Portuguese-controlled Goa. These played a vital role during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. It was deployed on INS Vikrant. It played ASW roles along with bombing runs. Although the wise deployment of Vikrant kept her beyond the Pakistani submarines’ reach. Alize has three gunboat kills to its name. After the war, they were stationed on the shore bases facilities. In 1987, they were employed to support the Indian Peacekeeping Force’s Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka by flying sorties against the LTTE. During this one, Alize sank the merchant ship Progress Light. They were finally phased out in 1991, replaced in their duties by ASW helicopters.
Mirage 2000 (1982 to Present)
We don’t need to describe the Dassault Mirage 2000, the star of Balakot airstrikes. Still, if someone is unaware of this great aircraft, we would enlighten her/him by the following article
So these were all the aircraft that served Indian Airforce and the Navy which were manufactured by the Dassault Aviation. Follow our website for more such interesting articles.