In about 2 years’ time, 36 Rafale fighter jets will be inducted into the Indian Air Force giving a massive boost to its capabilities in countering the twin threat of Pakistan and China. The jets have been purchased for 7.8 billion euros.
In preparation for the jets, India is finalizing logistical arrangements. The Narendra Modi government has allocated approximately $35 million for hangars, maintenance facilities and other requirements for the jets.
The jets will be stationed at two different air bases. The placement of these bases is such that the jets will be able to strike both Pakistan and China in a matter of just 180 seconds!
The first squadron of the jets will be stationed at IAF’s Ambala base in Punjab, while the second squadron would be based at Hasimara base in West Bengal. Each squadron will consist of 18 jets.
China’s Yadong is less than 100 kilometers from Hasimara. From this base, the IAF can also hit parts of Southern Tibet through within four minutes.
“French manufacturer & Indian teams had visited the air bases a few days back and are giving final shape to the requirements including hangars. All facilities for the Rafale squadron will be ready by end of the year,” sources said. IAF pilots and technicians will soon begin to receive training from Dassault Aviation.
The terms of the deal include five years of performance-based logistics (PBL) with options for additional seven-year extension and provision for 50 years’ product support by the manufacturer. Dassault will also make India-specific changes to the aircraft and mount different types of missiles: beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air Meteor, short and medium-range air-to-air MICA and precision-guided air-to-ground SCALP missiles.
Along with the Rafale, India is also quickening production of the Tejas fighter jet. Induction of these jets will give the IAF much needed impetus as it has been struggling with outdated fighter jets.