SOURCE: INDIA TODAY
The Indian Air Force on Tuesday shared the first images of armed Rafale fighter jets flying in Ladakh. The images show the Rafale aircraft, recently inducted into the force, flying in Ladakh and fitted with MICA air-to-air missiles on their wingtips.
In September last year, five Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force at the Ambala air force base. “The induction of Rafale jets is a big and stern message for the entire world, especially to those eyeing our sovereignty. This kind of induction is very important for the kind of atmosphere that has been created on our borders,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on the occasion.
The second squadron of the Rafale aircraft will be stationed at the Hashimara Air Force base in West Bengal. By the time the second squadron gets operationalised, the Indian Air Force would have more than 20 Rafale fighter jets.
The multirole Rafale jets have been built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and are known for air-superiority and precision strikes.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29 last year, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
They’ve been flying armed missions for months, but these are possibly the first public pictures of armed Rafales on sorties in Ladakh. Seen here is a Rafale with MICA air-to-air missiles on its wingtips.
Out of 36 Rafale jets, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The trainer jets will be twin-seater and they will have almost all the features of the fighter jets.
The Rafale is considered an omni-role aircraft, which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie simultaneously.
The rafale is battle hardened and has been used in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria and armed with potent weapon package the fighter jet is lethal.
If the need be Rafale can also be nuclear enabled making it more lethal. The fighter jet is armed with potent meteor and scalp missiles that will enhance air strike capabilities and air dominance of the Indian Air Force.