Rafale deep attack cruise missile is upgraded for targets in the mountains
Faced with the prospect of an adversary on the western and eastern fronts, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has succeeded in getting the French manufacturer to recalibrate the software of the Rafale fighter jet’s long-range SCALP cruise missile. to ensure that the subsonic weapon hits targets up to 4,000 meters above sea level. The subsonic missile with a range of more than 300 kilometers and a 450 kilogram warhead is part of the IAF’s Rafale Omni-role fighter weapon suite.
In simple terms, it means that the IAF Rafale can demolish targets located in mountains and high plateaus at 4,000 meters instead of the previous calibration of 2,000 meters. Modification of the software has been carried out by missile manufacturer MBDA in consultation with IAF high command.
SEE ALSO | Second batch of 3 IAF Rafale aircraft arrives in India from France
While the next batch of three Rafale fighters is expected to arrive after Republic Day 2021, there are plans for the plane to be refueled in the air by the UAE air force, a close ally of India, using tanker trucks. Airbus 330 multifunction transport vehicle while flying to Ambala Air. base. As of now, seven Rafales are being used to train IAF pilots in France. The entire fleet of 36 aircraft is scheduled to arrive in India by the end of 2021. One squad of this powerful fighter will be based at Ambala, the other at Hasimara Air Base, which is located in the Siliguri corridor.
Rafale carries an air-to-air missile from beyond Meteor visual range with a range of more than 100 kilometers, the powerful SCALP or Storm Shadow cruise missile, and Hammer precision guided munition. The SCALP missile is used to target command, control, communications, air bases, ports, power plants, ammunition storage depots, surface ships, submarines, and other high-value strategic targets.
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Although both China and Pakistan have developed air-launched cruise missiles, the SCALP is a unique weapon that has a fire-and-forget mechanism. Once launched from the fighter, the cruise missile falls to a ground hugging paper between 100 and 130 feet above the ground to avoid detection by enemy radars and jamming systems. Before approaching the target, the missile climbs back to a maximum altitude of 6,000 meters and then falls perpendicularly on the high-value target. The primary charge first penetrates the target, the secondary charge then shatters it.
With the IAF having to defend itself both on the fronts and in the mountainous terrain on both sides, air power will have a huge role to play in the worst case scenario. Infantry, in addition to airborne special forces, will be used to defend both the Line of Control (LoC) and the Line of Royal Control (LAC). The SCALP’s range will be crucial in degrading the enemy’s combat power.