SOURCE: VISHAL KARPE / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
” Airforce will be happy if we can replicate Rafale Sensor package for AMCA, ” said a serving senior IAF official to the author in his private capacity when asked how high tech India’s homegrown AMCA 5th generation stealth fighter jet should turn out to be after it enters production stage. when asked did many in IAF shared similar views like his on replicating Dassault Rafale sensor and avionics package for AMCA, the nod was of yes !! made me wonder if the Dassault Rafale already has left an impression on top decision makers in IAF that they want to replicate Dassault Rafale in AMCA? even though India is yet to induct the jets in the first place.
AMCA like Dassault Rafale will be medium category fighter jets which can swing between roles and carry out both ground and air superiority missions in a single mission if required. Rafale which is known as ” Omni Role ” already has demonstrated its strikes and reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria as part of anti-Islamic state campaign in the middle east. Precision strikes from Dassault Rafale launched from French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier said to have decimated Daesh targets which played a vital role in the liberation of Mosul.
Many Mission details were shared by French air force with their colleagues in Indian Air force as part of a larger collaboration with all current and future Dassault Rafale fighter jet operators. What might have impressed IAF about Dassault Rafale fighter jet that they are willing to pull out of proposed Indo-Russian 5th generation fighter jet just so that it can have additional Rafale over 36 which has been ordered could largely be due to wide range of smart and discrete sensors which Dassault Rafale offers which makes it unique aircraft which can stand its ground against even a 5th generation aircraft with inferior avionics and sensors .
Well who can forget 2009 war games when powerful F-22 was caught in Rafale’s forward facing camera showing an F-22 in a disadvantageous dog-fighting position, implying that French plane might have won at least one round of simulated dogfight with the worlds best 5th generation fighter jet in operation.What makes Dassault Rafale so good at short within visual range airborne engagement is better situational awareness which can put even a 5th generation fighter aircraft in a tight spot since they majorly rely on stealth and long-range engagement capabilities to win most of their engagement but when they become comparable during close combat and in low speed.
IAF still stresses on impacting training on close combat situation due to close forward bases of Pakistani airforce which can lead to engagement within few minutes of aircrafts from both sides going airborne.While both airforce now has Beyond Visual range capabilities but the short distance between both countries makes it less likely scenario under which it will be operated successfully. Situational awareness to the Pilot is what will make close combat advantageous for any airforce and there is a high level of stress on improving even with the onslaught of 5th generation stealth aircrafts in the region.
Some of the features which make Dassault Rafale fighter jet which makes it an exceptional 4.5++ generation fighter jet are noted down and it will be interested to see how makers of AMCA plans to make AMCA a full sensor-centric fighter jet which will also have high degree of stealth element to make it a unique aircraft in the segment
Dassault Rafale fighter’s Sensors Package
RBE2 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) made Rafale first jet in Europe to be equipped with a such an advanced modern radar that offered unprecedented levels of situational awareness and multi-tracking capabilities. Front Sector Optronics (FSO) is another fully integrated system which is immune to radar jamming and provides covert ling range detection and identification of the target in air, sea and on the ground.
Spectra Electronic warfare suite is another outstanding cornerstone system which provides a multi-level threat warning capability against hostile radars, missiles, and lasers. Spectra’s threat library can be updated in short notice by users in their own country if a situation arises of new airborne threat which makes it future ready.
A net-centric capability of Rafale due to its open architecture and integrated data fusion capability allows having a secure high-rate data link capability to share data in combined air operations in real time with other aircraft. Rafale can exchange images and videos of the target to other assets in the air to give a decisive advantage to its operators.
The Recent addition of Talios Targeting and Laser Designation pod has improved precision targeting capabilities of the Rafale fighter jet, while AREOS which is a new reconnaissance system for the Rafale improves intelligence gathering cycle and accelerate military decision makers ability in real time.