IAF Asks Dassault To Integrate Indian Weapons On Rafale Fighter Jets
In a step that could be a big success for ‘Make in India’ in defence and also open the global market for desi weapons, the Indian Air Force has asked French firm, Dassault Aviation, to integrate indigenous weapons like ‘Astra air’ to air missile on the Rafale combat aircraft.
The Rafale is used by many countries including India, France, Egypt, Qatar and many others along with Greece, Croatia, UAE and Indonesia, have placed orders for these planes.
“The IAF has asked the original equipment manufacturer Dassault Aviation to integrate Indian-made weapons like the Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) and the Astra air-to-air missile with the Rafale which has been in service with the IAF since 2020,” defence officials told ANI.
Along with these DRDO-developed missiles and bombs, the IAF also has plans of integrating multiple indigenously designed weapons by private sector firms including long-range glide bombs with the aircraft in the near future, they said.
Industry sources said that in view of the capability and the pricing of the Indian weapon systems, there could be a big market for them once they are integrated into the Rafale.
The Indian weapon systems are already integrated into the Su-30 MKI combat aircraft along with the indigenous LCA Tejas.
India operates 36 Rafale fighter jets and has already expressed intent to buy 26 Rafale marine aircraft which are to be used by its Navy.
The Indian Air Force top brass have been pushing for indigenous solutions for their war-fighting requirements to be self-reliant, especially in times of conflict.
A lot of weapon systems acquired by the force during the ongoing standoff with China have also been put on the indigenisation path.
The Astra air-to-air missiles are capable of striking targets up to the 100 Km range but very soon this will be extended to 160 KMs in the Astra Mark 2 while the further upgraded version would be one with a strike range of 300 Kms.
The SAAW can also hit targets at 100 Km plus range and its advanced versions are also being developed.
“The private sector companies have also developed missiles and bombs which can hit targets from long ranges and can be equipped on the Rafale,” the officials said. (ANI)
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