Will Rafale be a ‘game changer’ for India in regional geopolitics?

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS): The induction of the Rafale fighter jet will be a "game changer" for India in regional geopolitics of South Asia in so far as Pakistan is concerned, defence experts said on Monday, though any comparison with the air power of China still has a long way to go.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will ceremonially receive the first of the 36 Rafale aircraft in France on Tuesday, even though the combat jet will be seen in Indian skies only in May 2020.

Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria had said soon after taking over as air chief on September 30 that induction of the Rafale is going to be a "game changer".

Rafale, categorised as a 4.5 generation aircraft for its radar-evading stealth profile, will be a game changer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since most of the aircraft in its inventory - including the Mirage 2000 and the Su-30 MkI - are classified as either third- or fourth-generation fighters.

"Pakistan has the multi-role F-16 in its inventory. But it is only as good as the Mirage 2000 of India. There is nothing equivalent to the Rafale in Pakistan," retired Air Marshal M Matheswaran told IANS.

The upgraded version of the Mirage and the Sukhoi 30 can at best reach up to the category of fourth-generation fighters. The indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas can be categorised as fourth-generation in terms of avionics and technology but it is too small an aircraft to make a difference.

India will only be the fourth country, after France, Egypt and Qatar, to fly the Rafale. But the Rafale cannot be compared with the J-20, an indigenously developed fifth-generation aircraft of China.

The J-20 is soon set to be inducted in large numbers into the People's Liberation Army Air Force of China after it was successfully developed and displayed, said defence sources. The Hong Kong-based English language newspaper South China Morning Post had reported, quoting the Chinese state media, as far back as March 2017 that the PLAAF had inducted the latest stealth fighter J-20.

Besides, China already has over 600 4 to 4.5 generation fighter jets in its air force.

"We have the capability to defend ourselves. But capabilities also include a lot of strategic issues in the global system. The differentials are too much between India and China as far as air power is concerned," added Air Marshal Matheswaran.

As per defence experts, with its J-20, China is eyeing to compete with the US, which boasts of fifth-generation fighter jets including F-22 and F-35 manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

India's mega deal with Russia to develop a fifth-generation aircraft, which could have put it in the same league as US and China, fell off in 2018 amidst uncertainties. There is no decision yet on whether fifth-generation aircraft will be purchased off the shelf even as the IAF is short of at least 10 to 12 squadrons of fighter jets.

With both the Bison and non-Bison versions of the MiG 21 also set to be decommissioned soon, the IAF has claimed that it is fully committed to developing the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) as replacement. Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria had said in New Delhi last week that "there is no question of imports whatsoever in the foreseeable future".

"The AMCA is a development project and it will be several years before it actually takes off. The project is still on the drawing board. India will have to have a long-term partnership with any leading company of the world in order to develop the AMCA. The partner is not chosen yet," said a top IAF official, on condition of anonymity.


Comment on this article

  • Ramesh, Udupi

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Rafale deal is a scam

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    @ Shankar, Banglore
    Looks like; you have vast knowledge about military hardware, especially jet fighters of different origin.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • AM, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    This Rafale deal was a game changer for Ambani. This deal of Mr. Modi and Ambani saved AMBANI from bankruptcy

    DisAgree [4] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Political statements are political statements.

    To be a "game changer" in today's air-power, the aircraft has to be a minimum Generation 5.

    There are over a dozen aircraft (including Chinese homegrown J-20 as mentioned in the article) that qualify for this elite title.

    Most, if not all, of the Gen 5 have the low-probability-of-intercept radar (LPIR).

    Rafale that India has acquired at mind-boggling cost to the taxpayer is Generation 4.5!!!

    So, from a technological angle, Rafale is great is India has to be fight against Maldives or a country with similar capability.

    Even against Pakistan, it is NOT a "game changer".

    However, it might be a "game changer" to Anil Ambani's fortunes.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Krishna Dasa, Udupi,.

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    France is good for fashion, food, Wine, Luxury goods and not for military industrial products. France is last one to go for war and never won any wars. US military hardware is Superior in the world and US & England stands by it business customer and have real advantage over French & Rusian made military hardware. It is useless to spend money on French & Rusian military hardware, it is a big mistake.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruben Pinto, Mangalore/Australia

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    With kashmir fully integrated into India in 5 years time, war from that front will be minimal. We have to focus more with the Chinese threat.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Abdulla, India

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Can india be the world hub in manufacture of state of art, latest value added, re engineered, deadly lethal flying machines...?
    Integration of Technologies...
    Stealth, Laser , operating on AI,
    Precision machines,
    Invisible, invincible...
    Hub of the world like China ..
    they import the model and improve on the designs to mass produce...

    DisAgree [3] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Atlanta

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    I wonder what happened to Bankrupt Anil Ambani ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • SmR, Karkala

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Rafale becomes a ‘game changer’ for bankrupt Anil Ambani with Rs30,000 crores defense contract to manufacture the fighter jets having 'Zero' experience against the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited with more than 100 years of experience.

    Since the new contract awarded by PM Modi's government three times the original deal made by the UPA II government and technology details are kept unknown to normal citizens of India, the 'Rafale' combat role too early judge.

    Whereas F16 with more than 3,000 in operations in 25 countries serving more than three decades with four-generation proved its pro in the recent combat after 'Pulwama strike' strikes shooting down MIG and Sukhoi.

    As per the defense experts, the present orders of 26 compared to the 100 plus will not be able to fulfill the requirement in two front operations.
    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    This is only Nautanki. Middle class and poor people sufering day by day no one care.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    unless we become self reliant like china on military hardware, there is no game changing ..if after 1970 we buy 4th generation jets, enemy will buy 5th generation..pakistan has less fighter jets but they are modern..we are still into refurbishment of old jets..since 1970 we have not made new purchase eventhough 2 way war looming ..we didnt do anything on capacity building or encouraging private companies.. we still try to stall Rafeal deal through propaganda and spread lies against pvt partners n deter building defense eco system....

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sri Tom Cat, Mangalore,

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Will Rafale be a ‘game-changer in bjps bank balance’ in regional geopolitics? A big NO.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dsouza, Mudarangadi/Udupi

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Nothing will change the face of India,unless political peooples face and mind change. Everything depends on politics.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prakash, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Name "Rafale" has become bigger than the name "India" itself these days. BJP has flexed its muscles too far wide and fools its citizens by just riding on Rafael wings.

    If they fail to negotiate peace in Kashmir, soon it would be a disaster for India on International stage.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohan, Kudla kori

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    It's Ambanis nd modis bank balance changer. Fooling people. It's biggest scam looting India by... Defence name...

    DisAgree [11] Agree [31] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mahathma, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Jai ho...Salute to Namo. 4th place in world strong defence country, Our air force will be strong forever

    DisAgree [29] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rahul, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Dear Punyathma,
    Which is your model?
    Indian airforce in 4th place from long time not after 2014 or 2019.
    Looks like this punyathma is Marketing manager .

    DisAgree [2] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Satya, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Punyathma Mahatma should know that the IAF is number 4 in size and not in capabilities. Almost 60% of our aircraft are old and obsolete. At least 10 - 15 western European/ Australia, Taiwan, Singapore nations have better capabilities and advanced technologies than IAF...……………… Agreed that we have some of the best fighter pilots in the world, but they too have their limitations with operating what they have in hand.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    If war is a game changer then Pakistan would have been Half the size of it as it has lost the war and our soldiers reached up to Karachi....!!!!!!????? It has only changed the life of widows ( to the worst) who lost their husbands and nothing has changed...!!!??? Both the side politicians made some money to their own account by spending huge amount of money from tax payers....!!!!???? Kashmir is is as it is and also the land of Pakistan also as it is....!!!!????? Then my question is why war and also high tech weaponry is required...???? How many countries have acquired others land by doing wars in the world...???????? This is all a fooling game by politicians to their public and make money for themselves.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rathan, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Who signed Simla agreement?

    DisAgree [5] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Howdy, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Is it superior to F-15, F-16, F-35???. Don't think so. Only bank balance changer for BJP.

    DisAgree [24] Agree [43] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rahul, MANGALORE

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Purchase of Defence equipments,
    Its just a business in INDIA as shown in the movie RUSTOM.
    Many middle mens are filling their pockets in the name of pakistan.

    Nobody cares about poor/flood effected people.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Banglore

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    It is superior to F16. F16 can fly max 12 hours continuously. Rafale can fly 18 hours. Two missiles can be launched simultaneously in two different direction from Rafale, but not in F16 or F35.
    Rafale can be assembled with missiles in just 30 minutes, F16 takes 8 hours to do the same. At least listen to the air-force chief.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • VAS, Udupi

    Mon, Oct 7 2019

    Its not the right time to spend on defense tech.. Right now what its need is for our country. Need roads, infrastructure etc.... Right now every thing is broken.... What enemy will break if its already broken..?(Just saying).....

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Satya, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    Your WhatsApp knowledge is amazing...……………..

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Satya, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 8 2019

    These are Opinions and answers from Defence and aviation experts:

    F35 Vs Rafale:

    summary- f35 is a bomber, rafale is a jet fighter. While Rafale is one of the best 4.5gen fighter aircrafts(probably the best), it is no match for F-35. It has no stealth capability. Its acquirement cost is higher than that of F35.

    F16 Vs Rafale:
    In a dog-fight, advantage lies with one who targets the enemy first. And Radar helps in doing just that. In F16, Lockheed Martin has integrated technologies derived from the F-22 and F-35 including the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) APG-83 radar that provides F-16 with 5th generation fighter radar capability. It can detect enemies in a range of 120 kms. Its maximum engagement range is 20 targets at 84 kms.

    Rafale on the other hand is fitted with 4 key technologies:
    1] A multi-directional radar which can detect 40 targets at the same time in a range of over 100 kms.
    2] An undetectable passive radar sensor which is an extremely precise optical camera.
    3] Recognisance pod: a massive digital camera which can take photos at any speed with a precision of 10 cms.
    4] And finally, Spectra, an integrated defence aid system which can jam or counter-jam enemy radar signals, give missile-approach warnings and send out decoy signals in case an enemy missile gets too close to the Rafale.
    Decoy signal is an electromagnetic pulse sent from the rear of the plane which de-roots enemy missile.
    So, clearly, it's a tough fight between Rafale and F-16. And predicting a clear winner is a bit difficult. Victory depends also on the pilot's skills. So, who do you think will win the battle? Let the facts decide.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse


Title : Will Rafale be a ‘game changer’ for India in regional geopolitics?


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