Dassault Rafale: Indian Air Force Aircraft

By Naveen Singh|Updated : April 1st, 2019

Important detail on Dassault Rafale, an Indian Air Force Aircraft. The recent skirmish between India and Pakistan post-Pulwama that resulted in shooting down of an F-16 fighter plane of Pakistan by an Indian aircraft MIG-21 has established the might of Indian Air Force.

The Prime Minister has lauded the Indian Air Force but at the same time, this also reflects the ageing fleet of aircraft that India has. To tackle this India is inducting two new aircraft - the Indigenous Tejas and the French Manufactured Dassault.

Let's know a little about the French Rafale

Dassault Rafale: Indian Air Force Aircraft

The Rafale is manufactured by French Company Dassault Aviation, the same company that manufactured Mirage 2000.

It is a multi-role fighter aircraft which is intended to perform aerial reconnaissance, ground support, air supremacy. It is also called “Omnirole aircraft” due to its versatile capability.


The Need of Rafale in India:

Due to difficult neighbors, the Indian Air Force needs a minimum of 42 squadrons to protect its borders. Lack of finances & sluggish approach in aircraft manufacturing technology has caused the Indian Air Force to manage the borders with a mere strength of 31 squadrons.

These pressing situations prompted the government to induct more fighter jets. After years of pondering the UPA govt finally gave assent to the acquisition of 126 Rafale aircraft. But at that time the bone of contention became the responsibility of 108 aircraft which were to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited.

In 2015, the NDA government finally inducted acquisition of 36 Rafale in flyaway condition and withdrew the earlier deal. Many acquisitions were made by the opposition regarding corruption in the above deal as it was observed that in 2016 Reliance & Dassault both went into a joint venture. Finally, with recent information in light, the CAG finally said that there was no corruption in the deal and the increased cost is due to the inflation plus the purchase or certain high-end equipment and missiles like Meteor BVRAAM which was also accepted by the Supreme Court of India.

The IAF has proposed the deployment of the Rafale jets in Ambala, Haryana & Hashimara, Bengal. This would counter both Pakistan and Chinese borders.


Features of Dassault Rafale Aircraft

The 4++ (or 4.5) generation aircraft is equipped with state of the art avionics and equipment. It also has integrated defensive aids system, SPECTRA, which protects it against any missiles and ground threats.

Due to its smaller size as compared to its counterparts such as Russian SU-30MKI the aircraft does not easily get detected. It also supports air to air refuelling.

It also has a flight control system (FCS) that is much reliable and prevents the chances of crashes. It is also equipped with Man to Machine interface integrated with HOTAS (Hands on Throttle and Stick) allowing best performance to Air Force.


The Difference between Rafale Vs Tejas:

The Indian Air Force is focussing towards multirole aircraft with putting stress on Indigenous Tejas and Dassault’s Rafale.

Let’s compare both aircraft:


Dassault Rafale

HAL Tejas


Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA)

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA - Multi-role)

Max Weight

24,500 Kg

13,500 Kg

Max Speed

1.8 Mach

1.8 Mach


3700 Km

850 Km

Combat Radius

1852 km

500 Km

Surface ceiling

15.2 Km

16 Km

Hardpoints (for missile)



This clearly shows that Rafale is better than Tejas, but based on the various operational costs and ease of flight, the Tejas aircraft is also a better substitute to compensate the ailing squadrons of the air force.


The Rafale aircraft would definitely prove to be an ace in the hole for India. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited has also started working on the AMCA project and is also jointly developing FGFA with Russia which would strengthen the Indian Air Force.


AMCA - Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft

FGFA - Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft

Surface Ceiling - It is the max altitude at which the aircraft can fly

Hardpoints - Points present in the aircraft where missiles can be attached


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