India's Beasts in the Sky

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has much to cheer with the arrival of the first batch of five Rafale, an Omni-role fighter aircraft. The new Rafales added the strategic depth and strength to India’s air combat capabilities.

In the words of Defense experts like Air-chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria and former ACM B.S. Dhanoa, “Rafale is a game changer”.

Rafale Fighter Aircraft

Rafale is an Omni-role fighter aircraft (can take on several in one sortie). Recently, the first batch of five Rafale (out of 36) inducted into IAF and stationed at Ambala air base. With its avionics, radars and weapon systems, it is considered to be one of the most potent fighters of south Asia and much ahead of its competitors F-16 (Pakistan) and JF-20 (China). It will increase the air dominance of India in the border areas.

Rafales are combat proven having been inducted into conflicts in Afganistan, Mali, Libya, Iraq and Syria.

Some Key Features of Rafale

  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation, France
  • Muti-role fighter: It can strike from Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground in multi direction.
  • Cost: 59,000 Crore
  • Speed: 1.8 MAC (Speed of sound) or, 2,223 km/hr at High Altitude
  • Generation: 4.5th
  • Engine: Twin Engine
  • Range: 3700 KM
  • Missile: 4

Meteor Air-to-Air Missile

 Range: approx. 100 KM.

MICA Air-to-Air Missile

Range: Aprrox 80 KM.

HAMMER Air-to-Ground precision-guided weapon system

Range: Approx 70 Km.

Scalp long range Air-to-ground standoff cruise Missile:

Range: Approx

Other Competitors of Rafale:

JF-20 (China), F-16 (USA), Euro Fighter Typhoon (Europian Union)

Apart from Rafale, here’s a brief introduction about the other mighty aircraft and jet of Indian Air Force.

Sukhoi Su-30 MKI

Developed By: Sukhoi Corporation, Russia

Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

Maximum Speed:

2,120 km/hr at high altitude

1,350 km/hr at low altitude


3,000 km at high altitude

1,270 km at low altitude

The IAF commissioned its first squadron of Su-30 MKI armed with supersonic Brahmos-A cruise missile in January, 2020 at Thanjavur Air Force Station. It is one of the advanced multi-role aircraft in IAF.

It is capable of conducting Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground strike and also equipped with wide range of Radars, missiles, bombs and Rockets.

Mirage 2000

Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation, France

Maximum Speed: 2,495 Kmph

Combat radius: 700 Km

Mirage-2000 is a multi-role fighter jets and it was first commissioned in 1985 in IAF. It is one of the most versatile and deadliest aircraft, which was given the name Vajra by IAF.

Mirage-2000 has played a very decisive role in counter terrorism operation in Balakot in 2019 and in Kargil war in 1999.

In 2011, a contract was signed to upgrade Mirage-2000 jets to Mirage- 2000 5Mk to serve IAF till 2030.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

MiG-21 is a single engine, single seater, multi-role fighter and interceptor aircraft.

Manufacturer: Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG

Maximum Speed: 2,237 km/hr

Range: 660 km

Recently, in 2019, it made a lot of news after it downed Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft in an air-to-air combat near LOC.

Mikoyan MiG-29

MiG-29 is a twin seater multi-role aircraft.

Manufacturer: Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG

Maximum Speed: 2,400 km/hr

Range: 1,430 km


The induction of above mentioned aircraft and jet in IAF is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force. It will add the strategic depth and strength to India’s air combat capabilities. It will increase the air dominance of India in the border areas.

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