The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to discuss the role of Rafale fighters, focusing on the ongoing border clashes of the Indian Army with Chinese Forces, at its commanders’ conference in New Delhi.
Due to be held on 22-24 July, the conference will discuss IAF’s preparedness and new purchases to deal with future expected combat situations.
Hindustan Times reported that the IAF could deploy its new Rafale fighter jets in the Ladakh sector amid the border tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LOC) with the Chinese Forces.
Under a special request extended by the IAF, France is speeding up the deliveries of Rafale fighters to India.
Originally, four jets were scheduled to be a part of the first batch of delivery. However, six jets are expected to be delivered at their home base in Ambala later this month.
Once deployed to the border in line with mission requirements, operationalisation of the Rafale jets will strengthen India’s military posture in the region.
An undisclosed source was reported as saying: “Air and ground crews have undergone full training on the aircraft including advanced weapons systems over the last year in France.”
The Rafales will have a cold engine start capability to operate from high-altitude bases. They will be equipped with Meteor beyond-visual-range missiles.
Under an emergency purchase in September 2016, India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs590bn ($7.9bn) to enhance the airforce’s combat capabilities.
Originally, the first 18 jets were scheduled to be delivered to the IAF by February next year.