New Delhi : Four Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force carried out a drill in the Indian Ocean Region simulating a scenario where they outmanoeuvred hostile warplanes to launch weapons at their target.
"Four IAF Rafales flew a long-range mission for over six hours into the IOR. The aircraft "fought" through a large force engagement en route to their Weapon Release Point," Indian Air Force stated.
The exercise was carried out a few days ago, but the IAF released the information now.
The exercise is seen as very important in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Ocean serves as a strategic bridge with the nations in India's immediate and extended maritime neighbourhood. The national and economic interests of India are inseparably linked with the Indian Ocean.
The role of India in the region is evident in its vision of 'SAGAR', which means ocean and stands for 'Security and Growth for all in the region'.
Moreover, China has also increased its presence and activities here to protect its large volume of trade taking place in the area.
The mission lasted six hours and involved mid-air refueling of the Rafales that had significantly boosted the capabilities of the IAF.
India signed a government-to-government deal with France for the Rafale jets and all the aircraft have joined the IAF.
The Indian Air Force inducted the Rafale fighter aircraft in 2020 only a few months after the stand-off with China started and was quickly operationalised.
The Rafale is a 4.5-generation aircraft and has helped India regain its supremacy over Indian sub-constituent skies with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles along with advanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities.
The French firm Dassault Aviation is also involved in the maintenance of the aircraft whose serviceability is over 75 per cent.
The Rafale was inducted swiftly into the Indian Air Force at the peak of the conflict with China and started operating over Ladakh within a week of its arrival.
The IAF also quickly fired and operationalized the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles and the Scalp air-to-ground missiles.
The IAF has also added the HAMMER missile to the Rafale's arsenal as it was required for carrying out precision attacks at shorter distances. (ANI)