India to house its first Rafale fighter jets squadron in Bengal to cover China #Hindustan360

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India will base its first squadron of Rafale fighter jets, capable of delivering nuclear weapons in eastern sector as part of the overall policy to gradually build nuclear as well as conventional deterrence against China. View more at #Hindustan360.

With Sukhoi-30MKI fighters already operating from Tezpur and Chabua in Assam, the IAF has now finalised plans for the first 18 Rafales to be stationed at the Hasimara airbase in Bengal from late-2019. This comes at a time when India is also conducting final trials of the nuclear-capable Agni-IV and Agni-V ballistic missiles after the Strategic Forces Command inducted the Agni-III a couple of years ago.

Under the Rs 59,000 crore (7.87 billion euro) deal inked with France in September last year, the IAF will get 36 Rafales in batches by mid-2022 or so. With 14 India-specific requirements, including the capability for “cold start” from high-altitude regions, the Rafale packs quite a punch with its ability to carry 9.3-tonne of weapons and simultaneously perform both air defence and ground attack missions.

The IAF also activated the advance landing ground (ALG) at Tuting, in Arunachal’s Upper Siang district, just 10 days ago. It is the sixth such ALG to be made operational in Arunachal apart from the ones in eastern Ladakh, all with an eye firmly on China.

Moreover, the Panagarh base in Bengal is also set to get its six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Panagarh, of course, is also going to be the headquarter of the Army’s new 17 Mountain Strike Corps being raised with two high-altitude infantry divisions, apart from other armoured, artillery, air defence and engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Arunachal.

Steps being taken:

  • Nuclear-capable Agni-III (3,000-km) ballistic missile inducted into the Strategic Forces Command
  • Agni-IV (4,000-km) & Agni-V (over 5,000-km) undergoing final trials
  • Additional Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, spy drones & helicopters deployed in north-east
  • T-72 tanks deployed in Eastern Ladakh & Sikkim
  • 2 new infantry divisions (36,000 soldiers) raised at Likabali & Missamari (Assam) in 2009-2010
  • New Mountain Strike Corps (17 Corps), with HQ at Panagarh (West Bengal), to be fully raised by 2021 with 90,274 soldiers
  • 6 C-130J `Super Hercules’ aircraft to be based at Panagarh by mid-2017
  • 6 Akash surface-to-air missile squadrons being deployed in north-east
  • BrahMos supersonic cruise missile regiment to be deployed in Arunachal
  • Activated advance landing grounds in Ladakh (DBO, Nyoma & Fukche) & Arunachal (Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Along, Ziro & Tuting)
  • Plan to to boost military force-levels & infrastructure in A&N Islands

Rafale fighters:

  • 36 Rafale fighters for Rs 59,000 crore (7.87 billion Euro) as per deal inked with France on Sept 23, 2016
  • 1st Rafale to come by Nov 2019. All 36 fighters by 2022
  • 1st squadron of Rafales to be based at Hasimara

Capabilities:

  • 4.5 Gen omni-role fighter
  • Can simultaneously perform both air defence & ground attack missions
  • Can deliver nuclear weapons
  • Combat range from 780-km to over 1,500-km depending on mission
  • Can carry 9.3-tonne of weapons
  • 150-km beyond-visual range Meteor air-to-air missiles
  • 70-km range MICA air-to-air missiles
  • 300-km Scalp air-to-ground cruise missiles

View more at #Hindustan360.

Source: Times Of India