Fighter jet in sky

C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet

India currently has 11 American C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets and 11 C-130J30 Hercules turboprops. They join India’s fleet of approximately 14 Russian IL-76 Candid cargo jets and 100+ Russian/Ukrainian AN-32 Cline turboprops.

Finally, HAL license built 89 British HS-748 turboprops, and some 57 still serve in the IAF, rounding out India’s transport fleets.

So India has quite a large fleet of over 193 medium to large jets and turboprops from the USSR/Russia, US, and UK. India’s transport fleets serve a variety of purposes in the tactical and strategic domains. Below are some examples of IAF use.

The airlift fleets maintain logistic links to far flung Indian bases, some of which may be more that 1000 miles apart, and located at high altitudes and inhospitable terrain. The recently activated Daulat Beg Oldi is one such example, as it is in a remote area, at high altitude, and in harsh, cold terrain. This base helps India keep an all weather eye on Chinese PLAN and PLAAF activities. India’s Special Forces (Spec Ops) are heavily utilizing the C-130J30’s, giving them power projection capabilities and reliable operations that they did not previously possess. Just the enhanced ability to surge highly trained paratroops to threatened areas helps to preserve the peace as likely opponents know that India could rapidly envelop and outflank their forces from the air, so operations that were marginally plausible before are now off the table. So India benefits strategically from the deterrence effect of the airlifters.

The IL-76 Candids serve as heavy transports and as platforms for India’s 7 IL-78 Midas tankers and 3 A-50 AWACS. The IAF has conducted missions with the Candids all the way to the US, during bilateral exercises. This ability to perform intercontinental exercises with distant partners greatly aids the IAF in their professionalism and bridge-building missions, and serves to cement strategic relations. India plans to acquire more Il-76 based AWACS, and has left some room for additional IL-78 Midas tanker purchases as well. The HS-748 fleet is old but still serve a useful function as a pressurized passenger transport and as multi-engine and perhaps navigation trainers. India has a long running program to replace the HS-748’s with the Airbus C-295’s. Time will tell if this comes to fruition.

The newest heavylift arrivals are the 11 C-17 Globemasters. These aircraft have established a sterling reputation and offer the IAF its largest payload capabilities, with a lift capacity of 86 tons, enabling the carriage of the heaviest main battle tanks and similar armored fighting vehicles. The IAF has put them to good use, and they have performed many out of area missions and disaster relief missions already. Originally the IAF wanted 15 of the giant airlifters, but had to stagger purchases as funds were not available to buy them all at once. By the time funds came in the IAF could only buy 11. Even so they are currently the largest operator of the type after the USAF.

So India enjoys a great many benefits, both civil and military, from having a large airlift capability. India’s Boeing C-17 Globemaster fleet, with almost a thousand tons of cargo lifting capacity and intercontinental range, forms a key part of that capability.

Top 10 Indian fighter jets

Su-30 MKI– Highly Modern (4+ gen) Russian Aircraft. Developed version of Su-27 (first russian jet to perform the cobra manoeuvre) which means high agility. It carries One X 30mm GSH gun alongwith 8000 kg external armament. It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or Infra red homing close range missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35). Capable of launching BrahMos missiles, which gives it a big edge over others in the list.

Dassault Rafale– India Recently bought 36 of these in a bid to modernise the inventory of IAF. A highly capable fighter that has one of the best HUDs in the world, making it pilot friendly. It has a wide variety of weapons it can fire including, but not restricted to Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM AA missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-to-ground missiles and Exocet / AM39, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

MiG-29 UPG– This is the upgraded version of one of the most famous Russian Fighters ever created. IAF became the first foreign Air Force to order the MiG-29 in 1986. It is a very agile fighter and is a rugged dogfighter. The digital FBW systems in the UPG has made it “the most advanced version of the MiG-29,till date” according to the Mikoyan Guerevich itself. It is capable of attaining max. speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3). It has a combat ceiling of 17 km. It carries a 30 mm cannon alongwith four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.

Mirage 2000– A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr(Mach 2.3). It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations. It was recently significantly upgraded with Thales RDY 2 radar, which allows for very long-range engagement of targets in the air, automatic tracking of targets, mapping of targets on the ground using Doppler beam-sharpening techniques, and the ability to track and engage targets which are moving on the ground. And yes, this jet is our hero from Balakot airstrikes.

HAL Tejas– The one true Indian on the list. The Tejas is designed to carry a veritable plethora of air to air, air to surface, precision guided and standoff weaponry. In the air to air arena, the Tejas carries long range beyond visual range weapons, with highly agile high off-boresight missiles to tackle any close combat threat. A wide variety of air to ground munitions and an extremely accurate navigation and attack system allow it to prosecute surface targets over land or at sea with unparalleled accuracy, giving the Tejas true multi/swing role capability. It will be replacing the ageing MiG-21.

MiG-21 Bison– This is a controversial entry as many people will argue that since it is a platform which is over 60 years of age, it should not be placed above SEPECAT Jaguar and MiG-27. However, the MiG 21 never seems to have aged. It is by far the IAF’s favorite fighter with over 800 of them operated since the 1960s. It is also by far the most experienced veteran having seen many dogfights and CAS ops since 1965, the most recent being the standoff between India and Pakistan in 2019. They have a cult following in India but are deemed to retire by 2021, to be replaced by the Tejas. It has a max speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23mm twin barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

SEPECAT Jaguar– A twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a max. speed of 1350 km /hr (Mach 1.3). It has two 30mm guns and can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs (overwing) alongwith 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel). This aircraft will soon be gone like its Russian cousin by the name of MiG-27. India is the last operator of this jet in the world with France, Britain and Oman having retired it. Indian Jaguars were used to carry out reconnaissance missions in support of the IPKF in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. They later saw an active role in the 1999 Kargil War

Mirage 2000

India’s mirage 2000 is one of the fastest supersonic fighter jets in the world. It is a deep strike fighter aircraft used to break the enemies defense and carry out missions like dropping bombs of precision guided or missiles.

It can act so spontaneous in order to avoid retaliation in very fast . Besides it has the ability to fly at lower altitude in order to avoid radar signature or radar cross section.

The Mirage 2000 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 (2336 kmph) and can travel 1550 km with drop tanks. The flight height is capped at 59000 ft (17km). though it is a 4th generation fighter jet India had upgraded this extensively to maintain its capabilities par with the modern fighters.

Besides, mirage 2000 is the best suitable fighter for fitting spice bombs ,and airforce went for it with good confidence, that turned out to be great success. Moreover, it had been used extensively during kargil war striking enemies bunkers at high altitudes.

F22 Raptor

As the F-22 is a stealth fighter, the engineers wanted to reduce it’s radar cross-section as much as possible. To do this, they put the weapons literally inside the aircraft. So, instead of carrying them in outside pylons, this innovative design reduced the radar cross-section since the weapons are removed from the outside. This also cuts down on air resistance, hence making it more fuel efficient.

Here, you can see the missile coming out of the storage compartment.

In this image, you can see all of the missile bay doors open. I have pointed an arrow at the side door from which the missile of the previous image was released.

And what’s more is that the F-35 also has it’s weapons similarly ‘hidden’ like the F-22 inside its body!

BUT IT ALSO CARRIES MISSILES BENEATH ITS WINGS, UNLIKE THE F-22, WHICH HAS MOST OF ITS ARMAMENTS INSIDE THE AIRCRAFT (THE EXTERNAL WEAPONS ARE USUALLY CONSIDERED SECONDARY)

Here is the F-35 with its missile bay doors wide open. You can also see two missiles on the doors, which I have marked with arrows as well as two orange coloured bombs.

Here, you can see which weapons are situated where on the F-22 (note that not all weapons are always carried on the internal bays.)

STEALTHY AIR-TO-AIR covers those weapons that it can possibly carry in it’s internal space

NON STEALTHY EXTERNAL COMBAT covers those weapons/accessories that do not fit, or need to be carried externally only.

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Here, you can see which weapons are situated where on the F-35 (There are not many weapons for the internal bay, as you can see)

NOTE- All of these weapons are not carried at once, this picture only shows how many potential weapons are compatible with the aircraft in different places

Expensive fighter aircrafts around world

1.Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit – $2.1bn

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is a US Air Force (USAF) heavy-penetration stealth bomber launched in 1989. The aircraft can infiltrate complex and dense air-defence shields, while it is capable of all-altitude attack operations up to 50,000ft.

B-2’s original unit cost was $737m, making it the most expensive aircraft ever built. However, due to retrofitting and adjustments in 1997, its overall cost now stands at $2.1bn. It costs $135,000/hr to operate.

F-22 Raptor – $350m

The F-22 Raptor is considered to be one of the most highly advanced fighter jets. It is built by Lockheed Martin and Boeing for around $350m per aircraft ($143m unit cost). The total programme cost is around $66bn.

P-8A Poseidon – $290m

The P-8A Poseidon is a militarised version of the Boeing 737-800ERX. It has been produced by Boeing for the US Navy and has an overall procurement cost of around $290m per aircraft. India, Australia, the UK, and Norway are current users of the P-8A, while South Korea purchased six of the aircraft in September 2018.

Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye – $232m

The E-2 Hawkeye was first developed by the Grumman Aircraft Company (now Northrop Grumman) for the US Navy in the late 1950s. It took its first flight in October 1960 and is also currently used by Taiwan, Mexico, Japan, France, and Egypt.

F-35 Lightning II – $115.5m

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II fighter jets are built as part of the 1996 Joint Strike Fighter programme and were introduced in December 2006 (F-35A). The aircraft are produced by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Pratt and Whitney, and BAE Systems.

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey – $118m

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a multirole combat aircraft featuring a tiltrotor system. It carried out its first flight in March 1989, but crashes during flight testing and unstable funding resulted in several delays until 2007 when the aircraft entered service in the US Marine Corps. The USAF fielded its version of the aircraft (CV-22B) in 2009 and the US Navy plans to use the CMV-22B variant in 2021.

Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle – $110m

The Chengdu J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ is a fifth-generation, single-seat, stealth fighter aircraft made by China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. Following its earlier maiden flight in January 2011, it has been deployed in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since March 2017 and is China’s first stealth aircraft.

J-20s costs around $110m each, while overall programme expenses are estimated to be around $4.4bn.

Dangerous facts about Rafale

  • The French-made Rafale fighter is a high-precision medium-sized multi-role fighter. It is said that this is one of the most modern 4.5-generation aircraft. It has the ability to carry multiple weapons and deliver them accurately. The construction of the Rafale fighter can ensure the survivability of the airborne system itself.
  • The Rafale has two engines, and each wet spot can carry three 2000-liter tanks. The fighter is equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with a range of more than 350 kilometers. The Rafale fighter has a low-shooting ability. Rafale also has an integrated electronic warfare (EW) system.
  • The Rafale can carry up to 6 air-to-air missiles (AAM) and 6 expert bombs. Rafale will be integrated with MBDA Meteor BVRAAM, beyond line-of-sight air-to-air missiles and SCALP air-to-air missile ground missiles. BrahMos NG missiles can also be integrated on it.
  • Rafale has air-to-air refueling capabilities.

It can refuel another aircraft in buddy mode. The Rafale for IAF has been manufactured based on India Specific Enhancements

  • The Rafale fighter jets have several India-specific modifications. These include
    • Israeli helmet-mounted displays,
    • Low band jammers,
    • Radar warning receivers,
    • Infra-red search,
    • Tracking systems,
    • 10-hour flight data recording among others.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that the aircraft, which means ‘aandhi’ in Hindi or gust of wind, will live up to its name. The Defence Minister said that a large number of IAF officers and airmen are being trained in France for flying, maintenance support and logistics for handling Rafale.
  • All Rafale fighter jets are expected to arrive by 2022
  • India is the fourth country, after Egypt, France, and Qatar, to bolster its fleet with the Rafale fighter jets. Rafale is also the second French fighter, Indian Air Force will have in its fleet. IAF already has Mirage 2000 which is also French-made.
  • 5 Rafale jets landed in Ambala. Rafale aircraft would certainly provide the potent air defence that IAF required. He termed Rafale aircraft “by far the most potent platform for India’s air defence”.

Fighter jets operational in the US Air Force

177 F-22s

240 F-15Cs, 26 F-15Ds

165 F-15Es

120 F-35As

641 F-16Cs, 150 F-16Ds

aswell as other combat aircraft like:

19 B-2s

59 B-1Bs

287 A-10Cs

32 AC-130J/U/Ws

74 B-52s

50 CV-22Bs (used for Combat Search and Rescue)

84 HH-60G/Us (Combat Search and Rescue)

US Navy:

18 F-35Cs (13 of them for training)

532 F/A-18E/Fs (131 for training)

155 EA-18Gs (while mostly for radar jamming, just like the old EA-6Bs it replaced, they are also essentially Navy “Wild Weasels”)

41 P-3Cs (4 used for recon)

91 P-8s

508 SH-60s (among a variety of roles is hunting submarines)

this one’s a bit iffy, but – 29 MH-53Es (these are used for minesweeping, and also actually laying mines)

US Marine Corps:

143 F/A-18A/C/Ds

102 AV-8B+

81 F-35Bs (29 used for training)

90 AH-1Zs

59 AH-1Ws

US Army:

47 MH/AH-6Ms

792 AH-64D/Es

61 MH-47D/E/Gs

58 MH-60K/Ls

The use of BrahMos by the Indian Air Force

BRAHMOS IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY LEAD MISSILE OF INDIA AND CAN BE OPERATED FROM LAND,AIR AND SEA WHICH GIVES INDIA A GREAT ADVANTAGE OVER OTHER COUNTRIES ESPECIALLY CHINA.

IT IS ALSO THE FASTEST CRUISE MISSILE IN THE WORLD PRODUCED IN INDIA WITH PARTNESHIP OF RUSSIA. WELL THE MISSILE IS SIGNIFICANTLY TRIED AND TESTED AND HAS A RANGE THAT CAN ABSORB CERTAIN CITIES OF CHINA.

The missile system is” all in one “ which means missile system much advanced. The BrahMos – a short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from aircraft , land , ships ,submarine. … Brahmos can take out important cities of china.

The BrahMos is actually slightly faster at Mach 2.8 than the P-800. It also weighs twice as much as a Tomahawk, at six thousand pounds.

The combination of twice the weight and four times greater speed as a Tomahawk result in vastly more kinetic energy when striking the target. Despite having a smaller warhead, the effects on impact are devastating.

Even more importantly, the BrahMos’s ability to maintain supersonic speeds while skimming at low altitude makes it very difficult to detect and intercept. To cap it off, the BrahMos performs an evasive “S-maneuver” shortly before impact, making it difficult to shoot down at close range.

If the attack is launched within 120 kilometers of the target, it can skim at very low altitude the entire way to the target. While missiles can be detected earlier if benefiting from AWACs aircraft, a ship would likely detect a sea-skimming missile at range of only thirty kilometers, affording the vessel only a thirty second time window to respond. One intriguing analysis argues that a U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, with its layered air defenses, could not handle more twelve BrahMos missiles at once and that an entire carrier battle group would be saturated by more than sixty-four.

BrahMos is a very costly missile. Unit cost is around $3 million or Rs. 20 crores for a piece. Each BrahMos missile can carry 300 kg of explosives. Media sources say IAF hits 5 to 6 target which means around 3000 kg of ordnance being used. Means we need to fire 10 units of BrahMos missile. So the total cost rises up to Rs. 200 crores for BrahMos missile attack plus other operational costs.

The SPICE 1000 (500 kg) bomb costs around $0.5 million or Rs. 3 crores for a piece. 6 targets or 3000 kg means 6 units of the bomb. Total cost: Rs. 18 crores + other operational costs.

Fighter jets does India currently have

Currently IAF holds 29 active squadrons

15 squadron su30mki(275)

3 squadron MiG-21 bison(54)

3 squadron mig-29 upg(66)

2 squadron Mirage 2000(45)

6 squadron sepecat Jaguar(118)

Su30mki

Mirage 200

MiG-21 bison

Sepecat Jaguar

Mig29

17 tejas and 5(2 trainer 3single seater) Rafales are also delivered

Aerial refueling

Aerial refueling, also referred to as air refueling, in-flight refueling (IFR), air-to-air refueling (AAR), and tanking, is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one military aircraft (the tanker) to another (the receiver) during flight. The two main refueling systems are probe-and-drogue, which is simpler to adapt to existing aircraft, and the flying boom, which offers faster fuel transfer, but requires a dedicated boom operator station.

The 5 Rafale fighter aircraft en route to India were refuelled mid-air. Pictures of the refuelling exercise were taken at a height of 30,000 feet. The Indian Air Force ‘appreciated the support’ provided by the French Air Force for the Rafale journey. France used an Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport to refuel the Rafale jets. The aircraft had left for India on July 27 with a stopover in the United Arab Emirates. While France provided fuel support in the first leg of the journey, IAF’s Ilyushin-78s will take over for the second leg. This is the first batch of Rafales being delivered to India after a deal was finalised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his then French counterpart Francois Hollande in 2015. India has bought 36 Rafale jets for Rs 59,000 crore. They will be part of the IAF’s No. 17 squadron, the ‘Golden Arrows’.

India-specific modifications in Rafale fighter jets

  • Enhanced M88 Engine:
    • The engine has been modified to allow the Rafale to operate in a multitude of extreme operational environments ranging from high altitudes to deserts. Engine condition monitoring sensors are being attached to maintain the Rafale’s overall engine health.
  • Doppler Weather Radar:
    • The radar located at the nose of the fighter aircraft the Doppler Weather radar is capable of letting the pilot know about the weather ahead
  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite With SIGMA:
    • The indigenous satellite system is being made compatible with the French-designed fighter platform
  • Extra Filtered Oxygen Generation:
    • This enhancement is designed to filter out particulate matter, found in high altitude. The onboard oxygen generation system will serve to reduce the risk of hypoxia to fighter pilots, which is a result of lowering levels of oxygen supply ot the pilot.
  • Spice 1000 Smart Bomb:
  • The Israeli designed SPICE smart missiles are to be integrated into the Rafales aerial panel.
  • Quad Pack Ejectors
  • X Gaurd Fibre Optic Towed Decoy

This decoy system is designed to counter incoming enemy surface to air missiles (SAM’s) and air to air missiles (AAM’s)

Source from ssbcrack

Indiaspecific enhancements include,

  • helmet-mounted sight,
  • radar warning receivers,
  • flight data recorders with enough storage for 10 hours of data,
  • infrared search and track systems,
  • jammers and cold engine start capability to operate from high-altitude bases.

Source from Hindustantimes.

Fighter jets deadlier than Rafale

  1. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor – The F-22 raptor is the best fighter jets in the world developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing is a singler seat, twin engine and fifth generation fighter aircraft ( Rafale is a 4.5 G aircraft ). It has stealth technology. which is the most latest and advanced avionics. The F-22 cannot be exported from the UNITED STATES under the US federal laws.

Source : Google

2.Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightening II – It is again developed by US. Also a 5th generation aircraft.

3. Sukhoi-57- Su-57 is intented to be the first modern fighter jet to use stealth technology in the Russian military service. It is considered to be the cheapest among all the fighter aircraft .

Rafale is big threat for Pakistan

RBE2 LPI (Low probability of intercept) AESA Radar with 838 TR modules is superior to anything Pakistani or Substandard Chinese radars.

Meteor Ramjet BVR missiles

This missile is having the highest range among all air to air missiles. Heavier Russian missiles are for awacs and slow transport aircraft.

Stealthy scalp missile with 600km standoff range for hitting ground targets. It can take nuclear payload.

ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air To Air Missile) IR Guided high off boresight missile

Cued by the Targo helmet-mounted display (HMD)

Hammer Guided munition (Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range) is a rocket-enabled air to ground precision missile that has range of 60 km perfectly suited for high altitude.

Neuron UCAV can be controlled by Rafale

It is a stealthy autonomous ucav that can function in medium- to high-threat combat zones. A loyal wingman for the Rafale.

Mica Air to Air missile

MBDA MICA is an anti-air multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system.

Spectra Electronic Warfare suite

SPECTRA integrated electronic warfare suite provides long-range detection, identification and accurate localisation of infrared homing, radio frequency and laser threats. The system incorporates radar warning receiver, laser warning and Missile Approach Warning for threat detection plus a phased array radar jammer and a decoy dispenser for threat countering. It also includes a dedicated management unit for data fusion and reaction decision.

Rafale deal good for India

In September 2016, India has a deal with the French government to purchase 36 Rafale jets at a cost of around Rs. 58,000 crore. In this deal, we get 28 single-seater jets and 8 twin seaters for training.

In the backdrop of the 26 February dogfight between IAF and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), PM Modi had earlier said the outcome of the aerial battle would have been “something different” if India had Rafale jets.

Rafale is one of the finest fighters in the world. Rafale is a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that is said to boost India’s air dominance exponentially, currently safeguard by fighter jets like Russia made Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and MiG 29, along with French Mirage- 2000 and indigenously built HAL Tejas.

Rafale is a modern fighter jet known for its agility and speed. It is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles. It is powered by two SNECMA M88 engines, each capable of providing up to 50 kilonewtons of dry thrust and 75 kilonewtons with afterburners. With a range of 3,700 km and a maximum speed of 1389 km/h. The landing ground run is 450 metres without drag-chute. It is 15.27 metres long and a wingspan of 10.80 metres.

The empty weight of Rafale is about 10 tonne and the maximum take-off weight of 24.5 tonnes. It is fitted with 14 hardpoints and five of these are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance. The biggest advantage of Rafale is that it is capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Currently, Mirages are the designated aircraft for nuclear weapons.

The game-changing missile onboard the Rafale is the Meteor. Manufactured by European firm MBDA, the Meteor is a very long-range rocket and ram-jet powered air-to-air missile. Rafale weapon system brings about a paradigm shift in air-to-air affairs. It will be able to take out enemy aircraft at a range of over 100 km without even crossing the Indian air space. It has no escape zone of over 60 km.

Another key missile is Scalp long-range air to ground standoff cruise missile. It will also be equipped with Mica air-to-air missiles. The IAF plans to further integrate the BrahMos NG missiles with the Rafale when it is finally made by the Indo-Russian joint venture.

France uses Thales TALIOS laser designator pod but Indian Rafale comes with an Israeli Litening pod for sensor commonality. Instead of standard Sagems’s AASM Hammer air to surface munition, it will be integrated with Spice guidance kits.

Rafale has a Front Sector Optonics(FSO) system, which is immune to radar jamming while operating in optronic wavelengths and Spectra-integrated electronic warfare suite that provides long-range detection, identification, and localization of infrared, electromagnetic and laser threats.

It has the ability to take off from high altitudes airbases like Leh on a cold start for quick reaction deployment.

It comes with 13 Indian specific enhancements, including Israeli mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers, 10-hour flight data recording, infrared-red search, and tracking systems among others.

For almost two decades, the air force has been outgunned when it comes to long-range weapons and sensors by the Pakistani air force. Officials admit that for each Pakistani F 16 in the air, two Su 30MKI jets have to be scrambled because of the American origin jets superior radar and missiles. The Rafale will reverse this and give IAF the decisive edge with better sensors and weapons. Each Rafale in the air would require at least two F 16s for a counter challenge. Combined with the upcoming deliveries of the S 400 air defense system next year, it will greatly enhance Indian air superiority in the region. Combined, both systems will give India the ability to carry out airstrikes at will within Pakistan as a means to counter-terror attacks.

Comparison with Su- 30 MKI:

  • Loitering Capability: 1.5 times of Su 30MKI
  • Range 780-1055 km vs 400-500 of Su 30MKI
  • 5 sorties per 24 hours against 3 by Su 30 MKI ( A sortie is a combat mission of an individual aircraft, starting when the aircraft takes off.)

RB’ on the trainer aircraft’s tail stands for the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria, the IAF chief and the single-seater comes with initial of ‘BS’ which, stands for former IAF Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa.

Rafale Verse F16

Specifications:-

In a dog-fight, advantage lies with one who targets the enemy first. And Radar helps in doing just that. In F16, Lockheed Martin has integrated technologies derived from the F-22 and F-35 including the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) APG-83 radar. Its maximum engagement range is 20 targets at 84 kms.

Rafale on the other hand is fitted with 4 key technologies:

  1. A multi-directional radar which can detect 40 targets at the same time in a range of over 100 kms.
  2. An undetectable passive radar sensor which is an extremely precise optical camera.
  3. Recognisance pod: a massive digital camera which can take photos at any speed with a precision of 10 cms.
  4. And finally, Spectra, an integrated defence aid system which can jam or counter-jam enemy radar signals, give missile-approach warnings and send out decoy signals in case an enemy missile gets too close to the Rafale.

Decoy signal is an electromagnetic pulse sent from the rear of the plane which de-roots enemy missile.

Rafale is a 4.5th generation aircraft whereas the F-16 is 4th generation aircraft.

After going through the specifications it is clear that the Rafale is more on the advantageous side but it clearly shows that the dogfight between the two flying machines would be tough. But it also depends on the skill of the pilots which in turn depends on his country’s training capability. If the pilot is skilful then he can shoot down a more advanced jet with a less advanced jet, for instance the statements released by Indian AirForce(IAF)said that F-16 of the Pakistan AirForce(PAF), was shot down by a 3.5th generation Mig-21 BISON flown by IAF’s pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in march 2019

Conclusion:The dogfight Rafale and F-16 will be tough but the result also depends on the skills of the pilots.

About F-16: The F-16 is the world’s most successful, war-proven fourth-generation multirole fighter Jet. Its production was started by the USA in 1973. There are more than 4600 units of this single-engine aircraft (F-16) have been built and currently, 3000 units are still in service. Today, it is being used in 25 countries. Its speed is 2400 km per hour and the service duration is 12000 hours.

About Rafael:- Rafael is a multilayer fighter aircraft with two engines. This 4.5th generation fighter aircraft is made by the French company Dassault Aviation. Rafale can also be used for anti-nuclear strikes, anti-ship strikes, and in-depth operations. Its maximum speed is 2222 km/hour at high altitude.

Source from jagranjosh

Why India wants Rafale

Rafale can replace 7 different types of aircraft. That means the Rafale can undertake 7 different kind of missions which earlier required required 7 different kind of aircraft. Few of these missions can be undertaken in a single sortie. That’s why the Rafale is called Omni-role fighter.

Rafale would “boost” India’s air power if it offers something on top of what we have in terms of our best fighter Su-30MKI. Here are few things in consideration:

Radar Cross Section:

Rafale is a 4th generation fighter which means it is ahead of usual 4th generation fighter but is not a fully operational 5th generation fighter. It’s design incorporates stealth characteristics by using RAM (radar absorbing materials).

Stealth design features also include S-shaped engine inlets, serrated edges and a channel exhaust cooling scheme designed to reduce infrared signature. All These gives the Rafale a radar cross section between 0.1 – 1.0 square meters which is more than 10 times lower than a Su-30MKI which has a cross section of 4 square meter from the front & 21 square meter from the top/bottom.

Pic: Size comparison between Rafale & Su-30MKI.

That means while the Rafale can track & hunt aircraft like the Pakistani F-16 & JF-17 & the Chinese J-11 & J-16, they can’t see the Rafale unless it comes very near to them. Thus Rafale can fire from a greater & safer distance which brings me to my next point.

Air to Air armament:

All versions of the Rafale are equipped with what is internationally known as the best beyond visual range air to air missile (BVRAAM) of the world, the Meteor Missile. It has range of over hundred 100 km but what makes it different is the No escape zone (NEZ) which is of 60 km. That means if fired within 60 km of the target the missile will hit the target for sure. Usually the NEZ for contemporary missiles is of 20–25 km only.

Usually from a longer range the hit probability of single/dual pulse rocket motors based BVR missiles is 30–40 %. In case of Meteor missile this goes to as high as 60%.

The Meteor achieves this essentially because of its propulsion system. It uses a solid-fueled ramjet motor which allows the missile to cruise at a speed of over Mach 4 and provides the missile with thrust and mid-way acceleration to target intercept. This Throttle Ducted Rocket (TDR) motor is a pinnacle of missile technology something that even India is developing as the Astra Mk3 in the form of SFDR (solid fuel ducted ramjet).

Pic: Astra Mk3 – SFDR based missile. Ground based test.

Also the missile & the aircraft “talk” to each other. A two-way datalink enables the launch aircraft to provide mid-course target updates or re-targeting. Also the MICA-IR/EF short range missiles are a game changer when the battle comes to within visual range (WVR).

Currently the best of the line Su-30MKI uses the R-77 & RVV-AE (pic above) which are very decent missiles with 110 km range but they have single impulse rocket motor. Which means the rocket provides thrust in a short burst & the missile is propelled through it’s entire flight with the momentum only. Thus it bleeds energy rapidly in the end game if the target maneuvers rapidly.

Air to Ground armament:

Rafale comes with two major air to ground weapons:

  • SCALPE-EG missile: It is stand-off long range cruise missile capable of hitting targets at 560 km. Now it’s not an ordinary cruise missile. Just like the aircraft the missile is also a stealth missile. It cannot be detected easily unless it comes very close to the target, at which point the target wont have anywhere to escape. Also thanks to such a huge range targets can be hit from a far away distance without having to invade the enemy’s surface to air defence bubbles.
  • HAMMER missile: This is a bomb converted missile more optimised to attack ground targets in a shorter range where the target is low value & doesn’t necessitate firing a costly missile such as the SCALPE-EG. With a 50-70 km range, Rafale can carry 6 of these in one sortie. The Hammer being a precision guided weapon can hits target accurately even if they are in a mountainous terrain.

Currently the Sukhoi carries SPICE munition which is comparable to HAMMER albeit being more costly. The Su-30MKI can also fire the Russian Kh-59 cruise missile but it is nowhere as advanced as the SCALPE-EG. With the integration of BrahMos in Su-30MKI, the land attack capabilities are recently enhanced in the 40 Su-30s being upgraded to carry the supersonic missile.

Electronic Warfare suite:

This feature alone can turn tables.

The Rafale is equipped with a full fledged elaborate electronic warfare suite called SPECTRA (Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft). The system incorporates radar warning receiver, laser warning and Missile Approach Warning for threat detection plus a phased array radar jammer and a decoy dispenser for threat countering.

Thanks to the SPECTRA suite, the Rafale can operate in a high electronic jamming environment where the enemy radars are in a constant lookout for fighters. This is a proven system & had proven its worth during Rafale’s operation in the Middle east.

The Su-30MKI also has similar sub systems but there is no one to one comparison between the two. The Su-30MKI uses an Israeli Jammer, DRDO Tarang Radar warning receiver & similar mixture of equipment from different nations.

Carrying capacity:

Even after being a medium category aircraft, the Rafale carries more load than a Su-30MKI. The Rafale can carry almost 9.5 tons of external armament & fuel against 8 tons of Su-30MKI. The aircraft are seldom loaded in full capacity but this shows the thrust availability of the engines.

Also the Rafale is capable enough to perform nuclear strike & is one of the very few aircraft in our inventory to perform the aerial nuclear strike role. This is certainly welcome boost to the IAF as it reinforces the Nuclear Triad.

Availability:

According to the deal with Dassault, the company is responsible for maintenance & support of the aircraft in such a way that it is their responsibility to make at least 75% of the fleet available for flying at any given point of time throughout it’s service life.

I comparison, only 60% of the entire Su-30MKI fleet is ready for operations at any time. This is due to the radar which requires servicing every 150 hours of flight, the engines which requires overhaul at every 1000 hours & the titanium nozzle at every 500 hours. This increases the maintenance requirement of the Sukhoi fleet.

The Rafale’s fleet do not have these issues & most of the major servicing is carried out by Dassault which is another welcome boost for the IAF.

I think these points clear out as to why the Rafale is a “Game Changer” which brings a lot of boost to the capabilities of the IAF.

In my humble opinion, the IAF should go for 36 more Rafale & cancel the MRFA (aka MMRCA 2.0) deal. The follow on Rafale aircraft can use the same infrastructure, support equipment & training, thus reducing the costs & saving time.

Biggest air force base in India

Air Force Station Hindan (Hindan AFS) under the western air command (WAC). It is the biggest and largest air base in Asia and 8th in the world. Its area measured 14 km rounded and 55 square kilometres (21 sq mi). Starting 2006, the annual Air Force Day Parade venue was shifted from Palam airport to Hindan.

Arial view.

Units

  • No. 77 squadron – C -130J SUPER HERCULES.
  • No. 81 Squadron C-17 globemaster III
  • No. 129 helicopter unit (Mil Mi -17IV)
  • Originally the base was home to a squadron each of MiG-23s and MiG-27s, both single-engine fighters. After the 1965 war, No. 7 Squadron IAF moved to Hindan along with Hawker Hunters, and stayed here till 1969, when it moved to Bagdogra in West Bengal, subsequently during the East Pakistan Operations 1971 it flew in on 6 December 1971
  • In 2006, Indian Air Force shifted its 74th Anniversary celebration venue from Palam airport in Delhi, to Hindan to avoid airspace closure for commercial traffic, where the Air Force Day Parade cum investiture ceremony was held on 8 October, and an air display by 66 aircraft.This also gave the IAF aircraft more air space during the air show, till then was uses primarily as a helicopter base. After that it has become an annual event at the station
  • The Garud Commando Force of the Indian Air Force are trained at this base.