Induction of Rafale in Indian Air Force: Know Specification, Difference Between Other Fighter Planes

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : September 12th, 2020

Rafale in India: The first five Rafale fighter jets that arrived in India on 29th July, was inducted in Indian Air Force nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets for Indian Air Force under a deal worth Rs. 59,000 crore. The induction ceremony was held at Ambala Air Force station on Thursday. 

In this article, we will know all about the Rafale jet, its future role. We will also compare Rafale and Sukhoi 30MKI with China's J-20.


Image Source: Newwave

The Rafale fleet would be a significant increase in the power of India at a time when India is involved in a tense border dispute with China in eastern Ladakh.


Image Source: News 18

17th Squadron of India Air Force

The first squadron of Rafale jets will be stationed at Ambala airbase which is one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF.

Rafale fighter jets will be part of the new 17th squadron of Indian Air Force named Golden Arrow. The Golden Arrow Squadron was previously disbanded, is being resurrected.

History of 17th squadron 'Golden Arrow':

  1. The 17th squadron was organised in the year 1951.
  2. When Mig-21 fighter jets were introduced in the air force, the 17th squadron consisted of these fighter jets that were new to our air force.
  3. 17th squadron was part of the IAF even during the Kargil. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa was commander of the squadron at that time. This was before he took charge as Air Chief Marshal.
  4. 17th squadron was disbanded in the year 2016.

New Patches 

Since Rafale fighter jets will form the tip-of-the-spear of Indian Air Force's offensive power, it's fitting that our air warriors be given new patches that they will proudly wear on their uniforms. Symbolism holds a great place in Indian armed forces which have a proud tradition and rich history.


Image Source:

  • The new patches that have been designed will be worn by Rafale pilots on the shoulder and chest.
  • The design of the patches has retained the old school essence of the historical Golden Arrow Squadron. There are two patches, one is circular and another is a silhouette of Rafale fighter jet. The task of making these patches for the squadron was given to Saurav Chordia.
  • Both the designs have the logo of the Golden Arrow unit along with 'Himalayan Eagle' in the middle. Colours of the Indian flag have been used in the patches as well.
  • This brand new Golden Arrow patch was worn by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh when he did a sortie in a Rafale fighter jet last year. Group Captain Harkirat Singh, who is the commanding officer of the 17th squadron, also wore the patch.

Dassault Rafale vs Chengdu J-20 vs SU30 MKI

  • J-20 was deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in February 2018 claiming it is the most advanced stealth fighter in Asia and comparable only with the American F-22.
  • However, according to various media reports, the Indian Air Force air superiority fighter jet – the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI was able to detect the Chengdu J-20 flying over Tibet despite it using the stealth technology. These claims can never be verified, but one thing is certain that Chengdu J-20 has question marks over its stealth capabilities and has not proven itself in a war.
  • The Chinese might have an idea of the capabilities of Indian SU-30 MKI jets, as they also have jets based on Russian technology, but the French Rafales would be a complete surprise and challenge for them.


Image Source: Pxfuel

  • The Rafales have invested approximately 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft on the radar and self-protection equipment which would make it extremely difficult to detect and target. These capabilities of Rafale are the prime reasons why India preferred the French Rafales over the very advanced F-16s and Typhoon fighter jets.
  • Rafale fighter jets, with proven war capabilities and tried and tested weaponry and radars has the capabilities to completely surprise the Chinese 5th generation fighter jets, which is still in the Upgradation stage. It is highly unlikely that China will bring its J-20 against the Rafale Fighter Jets anytime soon until they are self-assured of its capabilities.





Sukhoi 30-MKI


Twin Engine

Twin Engine

Twin Engine




Multi Role Air Superiority


4.5 Generation

5th Generation

4.5 Generation


3700 Km


3000 Km


2130 Km/hr

2,223 Km/hr

2,120 km/h

Service Ceiling

15,235 m

20,000 m

17,300 m


20.4 m

15.27 m

21.935 m

Weight Empty

10.3 t

19.4 t

18 t

Weight Max

24.5 t

36 t

38 t

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