Dassault Rafale – The Golden Arrow

Rafale - Indian Air Force

India placed an order for 36 Rafale Aircrafts. Out of which the first batch of 5 Rafales arrived in India. On the very same day, “Rafale” was a trending search in Pakistan. So in this article, we would first have a look at Rafale. Then we would compare it with existing Sukhoi Aircrafts. We will also compare it with Pakistan’s F-16. So buckle up!

In a mega boost to Indian Air Force’s firepower, the five Rafale jets have landed at Indian Airforce’s Ambala airbase on Wednesday (29 July 2020). The jets took off from the Merignac Airbase in French port city of Bordeaux on Monday and arrived here after covering a distance of 7,000 km with air-to-air refueling and a single stop in the United Arab Emirates. The jets entered the Indian air space and were escorted by 2 SukhoiSU30 MKIs.


Rafales are termed as “GOLDEN ARROWS” in India. It was a huge deal of Rs 58,000 crore signed in September. Because of the escalated situation between India and China, the delivery was preponed .

The Rafales are manufactured by French manufacturer Dassault. In French, the word Rafale means “gust of wind”. India already has 45 Dassault Mirage 2000s in service.

Till now India had the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI as the most advanced Multirole fighter plane. Now the new 4.5 Generation Rafale becomes the most advanced fighter planes in Indian Air Force.

Now let us have a look at some specifications of Rafale and compare it with our existing in-service Sukhoi jets.

What stands out the Rafale?

The Rafale is fitted with 14 hardpoints and 13 India-specific enhancements. Its total external load capacity is more than 9 tonnes. Hence, it can lift the equivalent of its own empty weight in payloads. Its loitering capacity is 1.5 times that of the Sukhoi.

Rafale can carrysix AASMmissiles, with each aiming to hit the target with 10m accuracy.

Rafale maintenance time per flight hour is 2.25 hours against 6-8 hrs for other fighters.

The range is 780 to 1055 km as against 400-550 km of a Sukhoi jet. Likewise, the Rafale jet can engage in 5 sorties per 24 hours against 3 by the Sukhoi.

Moreover, The Rafale is powered by two SNECMA M88 engines, which helps it attain a range of more than 3,700 km.

Having a top speed of 2223 km, it is equipped with laser-guided bombs weighing 900 kg.Using Rafale, 2500 rounds per minute can be fired from its internal cannon.

This magnificent 4.5th generation aircraft will now lead the Indian Air Force fighter jets.

Rafale Labled

Dassault for Rafale

As per Dassault, the Rafale is equipped with advanced weapon capabilities. such as the following.

  • The MICA air-to-air ‘Beyond Visual Range’ (BVR) interception, combat and self-defense missiles, in their IR (heat-seeking) and EM (active radar homing). The MICA can be used within visual range (WVR) and beyond visual range (BVR).
  • The METEOR is a very long-range rocket and ram-jet powered air-to-air EM missile.
  • The HAMMER ( Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range) is a modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series fitted with INS/GPS/IIR (imaging infra-red) guidance kits.
  • The SCALP (aka. Storm Shadow) long-range stand-off missile.
  • The AM39 EXOCET anti-ship missile.
  • Laser-guided bombs with different warheads from 500lbs to 2,000 lbs.
  • Classic non-guided bombs.
  • In addition, the 2500 rounds per minute NEXTER 30M791 30 mm internal cannon is available on both single and two-seaters;

Rafale vs F-16

Rafale vs F-16
Rafale vs F-16

While the dimensions of the Rafale and Pakistan’s F-16 Fighting Falcon jet are similar, the F-16 is only a 4th generation aircraft while Rafale is the 4.5th generation. Similarly, the Rafale aircraft can carry a weight of 24.5 tonnes as against 21.7 tonnes by the F-16. This implies that the Rafale can load more weapons. Also, the F-16 jets do not have the semi-stealth technology and the nuclear capability which the Rafale has. Thus, combined with the Sukhoi, the Indian Air Force will be in a dominating position against Pakistan Air Force.


  • Can detect 40 targets in a range of over 100 kms.
  • 4.5th Generation
  • Semi-Stealth technology
  • Equipped with MICA missiles with range of upto 80km
  • Equipped with HAMMER with range of 60km with bombs upto 1000kgs
  • Equipped with SCALP with range of 560kms and warhead of 450kg
  • Anti Ship Missile AM39 EXOCET with a range of 70 to 180 km, GPS Guided and warhead of upto 165kg


  • Can detect 20 targets in a range of 84 kms
  • 4th Generation
  • No stealth technology
  • Equipped with AIM-9 with range of upto 35 kms.
  • Equipped with AIM-120 with range of 55-75kms with bombs upto 500kg
  • Equipped with AGM65 with range of 22kms and warhead upto 136kg
  • Anti ship missile Penguin with range of 35-55kms, Passive IR guided and warhead upto 130kg

Chinese propaganda mouthpiece boasting about their MIGHTY DRAGON – The Chengdu J-20

Recently, China’s Propaganda Mouthpiece “Global Times” wrote that their Chengdu J-20 is better than India’s new acquisition of Rafale. They say J-20 is a 5th generation Multipurpose Aircraft. Which, just like their Made In China, is False. They went on to compare their J-20 with America’s F-22 Raptor.

The Ex-IAF Chief Dhanoa calls China’s bluff with 2 simple questions

  1. Why are there Canards on their plane which 5th Gen Planes do not have.
  2. Why is J-20 not capable to super-cruise which other 5th Gen planes can.

Dhanoa calls out China’s bluff and suggests that it uses the engine of Russian Sukhoi. This plane can be categorized into 3.5th Generation Fighter Plane.

Wrapping up

What gives India a decisive advantage will be the deadly combination of SU-30 MKI’s and Rafale Jets which not only overwhelm Pakistani F-16’s in numbers but also in armory and radar. Backed with soon-to-be procured S-400 Missiles from Russia, Indian airspace would be near impregnable and become a no-fly zone for the Pakistani F-16 jets.

Moreover, F-16 are US-made airplanes that they are planning to retire in 2025. They already replaced F-16 by F-21 and then by F-35. While the french airforce has half the planes to be Dassault Rafale.

Moreover, Pakistan should also not be worried about Rafales. The damage that Indian Airforce can deliver to it is already tremendous. Pakistan Airforce is half the size of Indian airforce in the counts of planes and 1/3rd by the personnel. So the danger over Pakistan doesn’t actually increase with the addition of Rafale in Indian Airforce.

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