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The ongoing Vayu Shakti 2024 exercise saw contrasting results for the Indian Air Force’s fighter jets in air-to-air combat scenarios. While the French-made Rafale successfully engaged a drone target with its Mica IR missile, the Indian-developed Tejas encountered issues with its R-73 missile.

The Rafale successfully employed its Mica IR missile equipped with an RF proximity fuse, resulting in a “good hit” on the drone target. This showcases the missile’s advanced capabilities and reaffirms the Rafale’s effectiveness in close-combat engagements.

Despite engaging the same drone target under seemingly favorable conditions, the Tejas’ R-73 missile only “flew close” and failed to trigger its fuse, resulting in a miss. While the specific cause of the failure remains unclear, it highlights the need for further investigation and potential improvements to the R-73 or its integration with the Tejas.

The Indian Air Force has acknowledged the R-73’s limitations and plans to equip the Tejas with more modern missiles like the ASRAAM for close-combat engagements. This decision reflects India’s commitment to continuously upgrade its air force with cutting-edge technologies.