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India has request France to arm Rafale fighter aircraft with Meteor missile.

| 2019

India has requested to arm the Rafale fighter aircraft with the Meteor medium-range air-to-air missile. In November 2019, French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation has handed over a total of three Rafale multirole fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India has request France to arm Rafale fighter aircraft with Meteor missile 925 001 MBDA METEOR air-to-air missile (Picture source Wikimedia)

In September 2016, India inked a direct deal with the French government to purchase 36 new Rafale fighter jets in a 7.87 billion euro deal. This contract is a government-to-government agreement. It provides for a separate contract in which Dassault Aviation commits to make compensation investments (offsets) in India worth 50% of the value of the purchase.

This offsets contract was delivered in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations. In this framework, and in accordance with the policy of Make in India, Dassault Aviation has decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group.

Dassault Aviation handed over the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets on order for the IAF in a ceremony at the company’s Bordeaux-Mérignac production facility on October 8. The Indian government did not clarify when the IAF took delivery of the other two aircraft. Delivery of all 36 aircraft is expected to be completed by April 2022.

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

The Rafale fighter can carry payloads of more than 9t on 14 hardpoints for the air force version, with 13 for the naval version. The range of weapons includes: Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-to-ground missiles and Exocet / AM39, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

For a strategic mission the Rafale can deliver the MBDA (formerly Aerospatiale) ASMP stand-off nuclear missile. In December 2004, the MBDA Storm Shadow / Scalp EG stand-off cruise missile was qualified on the Rafale.

The Meteor air-to-air missile has been developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA to meet the needs of six European nations including the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

The Meteor BVRAAM features a state-of-the-art active radar seeker, a two-way data link communication and a solid-fuelled Ramjet motor to engage a wide range of targets with pinpoint accuracy. It also carries a blast fragmentation warhead with proximity and impact fuses for optimum lethality. The missile has high countermeasure resistance and offers the biggest ‘no escape zone.’

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