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From MiG-21 to Mirage to Rafale jets: A look at India's key fighter aircraft acquisitions

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IAF Rafale aircraft touching down at Air Force Station on its arrival after covering a distance of nearly 8500 km from France to India, in Ambala, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The aircraft will be a part of 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”, which was resurrected on Sept 10, 2019. Photo: PTI.

By Press Trust of India

From opting for the Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau-made MiG-21 in 1961 to receiving the first batch of five French-manufactured Rafale multi-role combat jets on Wednesday, India has come a long way in boosting its air-strike prowess.

Some of the key fighter jet acquisitions over the years and the combat capabilities they possess that made India's airmen a force to reckon with are:

Rafale jets:

India on Wednesday received its first batch of new multirole combat fighter aircraft in nearly two decades with the arrival of five Rafale jets, giving the country's air power a strategic edge.

The NDA government inked a Rs 59,000-crore deal in September 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system are the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.

The IAF is also procuring new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system Hammer to integrate with the Rafale jets.

Su-30 MKI:

Inducted in 2002, the Russian advanced fighter jets are the primary air-to-air and air-to-ground strike machines. It is a twin seater twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin which carries One X 30mm GSH gun along with 8000 kg external armament.

It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or Infra red homing close range missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35).

Mirage-2000:

The Mirage-2000, one of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) most versatile and deadliest aircraft, was first commissioned in 1985. The Mirage-2000 is developed by Dassault Aviation. It is a single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine.

It can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr(Mach 2.3). It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations.

MiG-27:

The Soviet-sourced ground-attack aircraft was designed by Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau and was manufactured by HAL under a license agreement. It is a single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin having a maximum speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6). It carries one 23 mm six-barrel rotary integral cannon and can carry upto 4,000 kg of other armament externally.

MiG-29:

Another Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau produced MiG was introduced in the 1970s to counter US' F-Series planes like F-15 and F-16. It was commissioned in IAF in 1985. The MiG29 forms the second line of defence after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

It is a twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft which is capable of attaining maximum speed of 2,445 km per hour (Mach-2.3). It has a combat ceiling of 17 km. It carries a 30 mm cannon alongwith four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.

Jaguar:

The SEPECAT Jaguar is a fighter jet developed together by British Royal Air Force and French Air Force. It is a twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a maximum speed of 1350 km /hr (Mach 1.3). It has two 30mm guns and can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs (overwing) alongwith 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel).

MiG-21 Bison:

In 1961, the IAF opted for the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau-made MIG 21. The single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin forms the back-bone of the IAF. It has a max speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23mm twin barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.


Tags:

MiG-21  Mirage  Rafale  Aircraft  IAF  India  
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