Considering the reliability of France’s strategic ally, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy have shown a keen interest in the Rafale platform due to its weight / power ratio and its its maritime strike capabilities. Apparently, the IAF leadership wants to acquire 36 more Rafale in the future and the Navy is considering the Rafale-M as a combat option aboard the INS Vikrant (native aircraft carrier-1), which will be put into operation. service next year.
The induction of the Rafale in the western and eastern theaters has forcibly multiplied India’s warfare capabilities, as the French fighter is armed with the Meteor air-to-air missile with the longer range of the subcontinent, intelligent air-to-ground munition. Long range hammer and SCALP air. to the ground weapon. The Hammer missile, which was acquired by India through emergency procurement, can be dropped from a height of just 500 feet to hit a high-altitude target over 70 km away. The missile hugs the terrain then climbs to a height of over 4000 meters before hitting the target with top-down action. The Indian Rafales carry specially modified Hammer missiles due to high altitude targets, mountainous terrain and Russian S-400 air defense systems recently acquired by the Chinese. In fact, the French proposed to jointly develop Hammer and Meteor missiles with India with extended range and heavier payload.
While French Rafale deliveries are slightly ahead, all eyes are on the activation of the Hashimara air base, which will house the second Rafale fighter squadron, with the first squadron based in Ambala. The presence of the Rafale in the eastern sector of India will strengthen its military response in the sector, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh being a defense priority.
Hashimara’s positioning is such that it covers the Chumbi Valley, Sikkim and the sensitive Siliguri Corridor. While Ambala and Hashimara are the Rafale’s home bases, nuclear-capable combatants will fly over India and its coastal territories.