French fighter jets Rafale will help the Indian Air force to have an edge over F-16 of Pakistan. It would be a potent force-multiplier for IAF, apart from ability to carry nuclear weapons.
The deal has been signed by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in New Delhi.
Indian officials are jubilant about the deal. “Rafale is a very potent fighter that will add to the IAF’s airpower and deep-strike capabilities,” said Parrikar, while Le Drian said, “The Rafale is really the best fighter jet in the world. It is an omni-role aircraft capable of all kinds of missions.”
Indian officials, didn’t hide the fact that Rafale could be used as a “strategic platform,” said sources.
The manufacturer of Rafale, Dassault Aviation’s CEO Eric Trappier said, it is much more superior than US made F-35 fifth-generation fighter since Rafale is at least “a generation ahead” of the F-16.
The aircraft costs around Rs 700 crore per piece. But its unit cost will shoot upto Rs 1,640 crore given all other costs like a crucial weapons package, spare parts and expenses to make ready 75% fleet and “performance-based logistics support” for next five years.
Sources said Rafale can perform under Indian conditions like “cold start at high-altitude regions like Leh” and can mount Israeli helmet-mounted displays, advanced missile warning and synthetic aperture radars.
Meanwhile, Pakistani media reported that Pakistan flew F-16 fighter aircraft’s over Islamabad on September 22 as tensions between India and Pakistan escalated.
PAF fighter plane landing on motorway pic.twitter.com/K4No33pCA4
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirGEO) September 23, 2016
GEO TV journalist Hamid Mir posted images of an F-16, and tweeted “F-16 planes flying at 10:20 pm over Islamabad.”
But later Mir added, it was part of a military drill by PAF. “Don’t worry, it is just to assure people of islmabd that our forces are fully aware and ready to fight (sic)”, Mir retweeted.