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** CHANAKYA 55th YEAR ** 15th JANUARY 2024 INDIAN ARMY DAY SPECIAL ISSUE ** EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ARMY CHIEF ** MEDIA PARTNER - WINGS INDIA 2024 SPECIAL SHOW PREVIEW ** MEDIA PARTNER - EGYPT DEFENCE EXPO 2023 SPECIAL SHOW REPORT **         INDIA’s Leading & Oldest DEFENCE & Aerospace Magazine - 55th Year in Defence Publishing: 50th Year of Monthly Publication       

LATEST ISSUES

Top Stories

South Korea Selects the Embraer C-390 Millennium

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has recently announced Embraer’s C-390 Millennium as the winner of the Large Transport Aircraft (LTA) II public tender to provide the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) with new Military Transport Aircraft.

ROKAF Will be Asia’s First C-390 Millennium Operator & 7th Nation to Select C-390s
South Korea is the C-390 Millennium’s first customer in Asia. Under the signed contract, Embraer wi
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MBDA Missiles Systems

MBDA is ready to consider integration of Brimstone Missiles onto the MQ-9B Predator, which are to be procured by India, according to an MBDA official, speaking to a select group of journalists from India visiting the Missile Leaders’ Facilities in UK’s Bolton and France.

MBDA Missiles Systems for Indian Armed Forces
A select group of journalists from India visited the MBDA Missile Systems’ Facilities in UK’s Bolto
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: GENERAL MANOJ PANDE, CHIEF OF THE ARMY STAFF (COAS)

Chanakya Interviewed GENERAL MANOJ PANDE, CHIEF OF THE ARMY STAFF (COAS), who briefly covered some ARMY programmes of Modernisation, including Emergency Weapons Procurements, Air Defence, Drones & Unmanned and Autonomous Systems (UAS); Automation, Digitization, Networking, including ACCCS, SAMA (Situational Awareness Module), ANUMAAN and Battlefield Surveillance System, etc. On the occasion of the 76th Army Day 2024, we feature the Exclusive Interview of the Army Chief with Chanakya:

“The Military Role of Unmanned Weapon Systems is Growing at Unprecedented Rates”
Indian Army is going through a Transformation process acquiring State-of-the-Art Weapon Platforms a
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR, CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF

ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR, the 25th Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) of Indian Navy in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to CHANAKYA said “The Navy is steadfastly striving for rapid modernisation of the force through indigenous route and is committed to becoming fully AtmaNirbhar by 2047.” He spoke about the future plans of the Indian Navy and the various Air Operations integration trials undertaken on the deck of INS Vikrant Aircraft Carrier.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR, CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF “Towards Capacity & Capability Building of the Navy, 67 Ships & Submarines are Under Construction”
For Indian Navy Day 2023, CHANAKYA Interviewed CNS ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR covering Indian Navy’s Mod
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Prime Minister Modi Flies Sortie in LCA Tejas

On 25th November 2023, in a historic milestone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew a sortie in the indigenously designed, developed and manufactured Tejas Twin-Seater Light Combat Fighter Aircraft at Bengaluru. During the 30-minute sortie, capabilities of Fighter Aircraft Tejas were demonstrated to the PM.

Prime Minister Modi Flies in the Indigenously-Manufactured Twin-Seater Fighter LCA Tejas
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew a sortie in the Tejas Twin-Seater Light Combat Fighter Aircraft a
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NAVANTIA S-81 SUBMARINE

On the 30th of November, 2023, the S-81 Isaac Peral Submarine has been commissioned to the Spanish Navy. It is the first boat of the series of 4 that have been designed and built entirely by Navantia for the Spanish Navy.

SPANISH NAVY’S NAVANTIA S-80 SUBMARINE, IN SERVICE
After this key milestone of the S-80 Programme, the Spanish Navy will have in service one of the mo
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MBDA NAVAL MISSILES

MBDA is proud to celebrate Indian Navy Day 2023, and to mark a long history supporting the Indian Navy with the highest performing Missile Systems. From Anti-Ship Missiles, to Air Defence Systems, and the latest in Naval Aviation Weaponry, MBDA has supported the Indian Navy for decades and is committed to continuing to do so today and into the future, says Ludovic Dumont, General Delegate, MBDA India Private Limited.

MBDA Celebrates Indian Navy Day 2023 by Ludovic Dumont, General Delegate, MBDA India Private Limited
MBDA well understands the importance of operational capability and sovereignty to the Indian Navy a
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Embraer C-390 Millennium Medium Military Transport Aircraft

The Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of the Czech Republic announced the start of negotiations on potential acquisition of the New-Generation Multi-Mission Embraer C-390 Millennium, a Tactical Military Transport Aircraft. The Czech Republic's Ministry of Defence has identified the C-390 as the most suitable solution for meeting the requirements of the Army of the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic Selects the Embraer C-390 Millennium as its Next Medium Military Transport Aircraft
The Embraer Defense & Security's New-Generation Multi-Mission Embraer C-390 Millennium, a Tactical
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DUBAI AIR SHOW PREVIEW

The 18th Dubai Air Show 2023 is being held at DWC Dubai from 13th to 17th November 2023. The Dubai Air Show will have about 160 Aircraft displays, with 1,200 Plus exhibitors from above 50 countries. Dubai Air Show 2023 visitors view the thrills of Al Fursan, the UAE Aerobatic Team and other fascinating Air Displays including the IAF’s LCA Tejas, which flew last time.

DUBAI AIR SHOW 2023 SPECIAL SHOW PREVIEW
Dassault Aviation’s Rafale & Mirage 2000-9 Fighters; Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet & F-15 Fighters,
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1st Airbus C-295MW Inducted into IAF

“C-295 Will Bolster the Medium Lift Tactical Capability of IAF”: RM Rajnath Singh

The formal induction of the First Airbus C-295MW Transport Aircraft into the IAF took place on 25th September 2025 in an Induction Ceremony held at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad. This Medium Lift Tactical Aircraft, which is capable of taking off and landing from unprepared landing grounds, will replace the HS-748 Avro Aircraft.

First Airbus C-295MW Transport Aircraft Inducted into the Indian Air Force
While the first 16 of the 56 contracted Airbus C-295MW aircraft will be delivered to the IAF in a '
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF

“Procurement of Six AEW&C Mk-II
is Underway”

Indian Air Force is going through a Transformation process acquiring State-of-the-Art Platforms and Systems, and through Upgrades, to boost India’s Air Dominance Capabilities, with 36 New Rafales, 51 Upgraded Mirage 2000s, DARIN-III Jaguars, LCA Tejas Mk-1A, C-17s, C-130J-30s, Do-228s, Avro replacement with 56 C-295MW MTAs, ALH Rudra Mk-IV, Prachand Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), Light Utility Helicopters (LUH); Mi-17V5s; Chinook Heavy-Lift Helicopters & Apache Attack Helicopters, AEW&Cs/AWACS, FRA, etc. and various types of Radar & Air Defence Weapons Systems and SAGW, SAAW, etc. either have been inducted or are in final stages of procurement.

AIR CHIEF INTERVIEW
Chanakya Interviewed AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF (CAS), who briefly c
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SAFRAN AIRCRAFT ENGINES

Safran is an International High-Technology Group operating in the Aviation (Propulsion, Equipment & Interiors), Defence & Space markets. Safran has Aircraft Engines for Mainline & Regional Airplanes, to Business Jet Powerplants, & Engines for Military Transport, Training, Combat, Surveillance & In-Flight Refueling Missions. Safran has a global presence and holds world or regional leadership positions in its core markets.

Safran Aircraft Engines and India Shine on the Champs Élysées
Safran Aircraft Engines has been a trusted partner to the Indian Air Force for over 4 decades. The
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Creation of Theatre Commands Delayed

The much-awaited Military Reform of creating Integrated Theatre Commands, which will entail having all War-Fighting Assets and Forces under a single Commander for a specific geographical area, is not expected to take place anytime soon. The Theatre Commands are inevitable and will be eventually formed as the delay is only to bring about a wider consensus.

Creation of Theatre Commands Delayed: No Consensus Yet, CDS For Wider Consultations on Tri-Services Jointness in Operations
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan has been reportedly asked to reach a wider consen
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INTERVIEW: WILLIAM L. BLAIR, VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LOCKHEED MARTIN INDIA

At Aero India 2023, Lockheed Martin presents the C-130J Super Hercules, of which the IAF operates a fleet. The Lockheed Martin F-21 Fighter Jet, an impressive Multi-Mission Platform, for which Lockheed Martin announced the future potential production in India in Partnership with Tata Advanced Systems; and its’ Multi-Mission Rotorcraft, like Sikorsky’s MH-60R, S-92, CH-53K & S-76; the Javelin - the world’s most versatile Precision Weapon System, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

“F-21 Would Serve As a Force Multiplier for the Indian Air Force”
The MH-60R SEAHAWK Helicopter is one of the world’s most advanced Maritime Helicopters for ASW/ASuW
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INTERVIEW: LUDOVIC DUMONT, COUNTRY HEAD MBDA & MBDA INDIA GENERAL DELEGATE

MBDA is a World Leader in Missiles & Missile Systems, which designs & produces Missiles & Missile Systems for the three Armed Forces - Land, Sea & Air. The MBDA Group offers a range of 45 Missile Systems & Counter-Measures products already in operational service, including MBDA’s Range of Missiles for IAF’s Rafale Fighters, and over 15 missiles in development stage. Chanakya Interviews LUDOVIC DUMONT, Country Head MBDA & MBDA India General Delegate, who articulates on MBDA’s Range of Missiles for the IAF’s Rafale, & Rafale-M Fighter, including the Meteor BVRAAM & SCALP Missiles; MICA IR & RF Missiles for the Rafale & Upgraded Mirage 2000s of the IAF; Mistral ATAM for the ALH Rudra WSI & LCHs; ASRAAM Missiles for the Jaguar Fighter Upgrade & for the Tejas LCA Mk.1A.

“Tejas LCA Mk.1A to be Armed with MBDA ASRAAM Missile”
Ludovic Dumont also informs about the MBDA Brimstone & new AKERON MP Missiles; and MBDA’s Naval Mis
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INTERVIEW: JAJATI MOHANTY, CEO, SCHIEBEL INDIA

Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Air System is a proven capability for Military & Civilian Applications. The Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 km, both on Land and at Sea. The S-100 navigates automatically via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or can be operated directly with a Pilot Control Unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.

“Camcopter S-100 is a Mission-Proven Asset”
High-definition Payload Imagery is transmitted to the Control Station in real-time. Using "fly-by-w
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INTERVIEW: ASHISH SARAF, VICE PRESIDENT & COUNTRY DIRECTOR, THALES IN INDIA

For almost decades, Thales has been Partnering the Indian growth story by sharing its technologies and expertise in Defence, Aerospace, Transport and Digital Identity & Security markets. Over the years, it has developed a mature industrial footprint in the country's Defence Sector via a diverse range of high-tech products, services, and collaborations, supporting the Indian Armed Services' Modernisation efforts.

“BDL is Progressing Well to Bring STARStreak MANPAD System to India”
Thales provides several State-of-the-Art Equipment & Systems aboard the Rafale Fighter - ‘Game-Chan
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BHANU PRAKASH SRIVASTAVA, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL)

BEL, a Navratna PSU under the Ministry of Defence, is India’s leading Defence & Strategic Electronics Company, having the capabilities & expertise in Defence Electronics Domain. BEL produces Radar and Fire Control Systems, Weapon Systems, Communication, Network Centric Systems (C4I), Electronic Warfare Systems, Avionics, Anti-Submarine Warfare Systems & Sonars, Electro-Optics, Tank Electronics, Gun Upgrades, etc.

“BEL is Fast Expanding its Global Presence”
BEL has also been addressing the Non-Defence market by offering high quality products & solutions,
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AIRBUS DEFENCE & SPACE

With PM Modi laying the foundation stone of C295 Transport Aircraft Manufacturing Facility to manufacture C295 Aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) through collaboration between Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain, the project is now underway in Gujarat. Out of 56, 40 C295 MTAs will be manufactured in India by the TATA Consortium. Interest is now shifting towards the C295 MPA - Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which is to be acquired by the Indian Navy, and is one of the multiple C295MW Variants manufactured by Airbus.

Airbus Remains Committed to Developing India’s Defence Industry
The focus is also back on the pending acquisition of the New-Generation A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ATUL DINKAR RANE, DG BRAHMOS, DRDO and CEO & MD, BRAHMOS AEROSPACE

BrahMos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian Joint Venture is capable to fulfil any export requirements, if the Government decides, while serving the Indian Army, Indian Navy & Indian Air Force requirements, for which the company has received new missiles orders. There is interest in BRAHMOS in South-East Asia, Middle East & Latin America, after an order from Philippines.

“Top-Most Priority is the Design and Development of BRAHMOS-NG”
In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, ATUL DINKAR RANE, Outstanding Scientist, Director General
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF

Indian Air Force is going through a Transformation process acquiring State-of-the-Art Platforms and Systems, and through Upgrades, to boost India’s Air Dominance Capabilities, with 36 New Rafales, Upgraded Mirage 2000s, DARIN-III Jaguars, LCA Tejas Mk.1A, C-17s, C-130J-30s, Do-228s, 56 C295MW MTAs, ALH Rudra Mk.IV, Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), Light Utility Helicopters (LUH); Mi-17V5s; Chinook Heavy-Lift Helicopters & Apache Attack Helicopters, AEW&Cs/AWACS, FRA, etc. and various types of Radar & Air Defence Weapons Systems and SAGW, either been inducted or in final stages of contract negotiations.

“IAF Plans to Induct Six Squadrons of the MRFA in a Phased Manner”
Chanakya Interviewed AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF (CAS), who briefly c
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INDIAN NAVY CHIEF EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR, the 25th Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to CHANAKYA said “Considering the indigenous expertise available with respect to design and construction of IAC-1, a repeat order of IAC-1 with suitable modifications to incorporate lessons learnt from IAC-1 and future capabilities envisaged is being explored.”

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ADMIRAL R. HARI KUMAR, CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF: “AoN has been Accorded for Acquisition of 49 Ships & Six Submarines”
On the larger IAC-II, he said “The AoN for the project would be progressed in due course of time.”
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Navantia, Reliable Partner for India

Spain’s Navantia has a long success story in the international market, as the result of the National Programmes for the Spanish Navy. Regarding the LPD programme, Navantia is Partnering with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) with a solution based on the Spanish Navy Juan Carlos I Class LPD, a superior design when it comes to perform an Expeditionary Force Deployment in a delicate scenario. It is an outstanding design trusted by the Spanish Navy, the Turkish Navy, and the Royal Australian Navy, where the ships play a major role in the international activity.

Navantia Is Currently Participating in Several International Cooperation Programmes
Navantia is also participating in the Submarine competition P-75(I) for the Indian Navy, with the S
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KONGSBERG NAVAL STRIKE MISSILE - NSM

KONGSBERG Defence & Aerospace, a subsidiary of KONGSBERG, is Norway's premier supplier of Defence & Aerospace-related Systems & Solutions, including products & systems for Command & Control, Information, Data Handling, Surveillance, Communications Solutions, Space Technology, Missiles and Remotely Controlled Systems. In an Exclusive Interview to Chanakya, JOHNNY STØA, Regional Marketing Director, Missile Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS, elaborated on the NSM & JSM success story.

INTERVIEW: JOHNNY STØA, Regional Marketing Director, Missile Systems, KONGSBERG Defence & Aerospace AS
In an Exclusive Interview to Chanakya, JOHNNY STØA, Regional Marketing Director, Missile Systems, K
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GARDEN REACH SHIPBUILDERS

Indian Navy Day is also proud moment for GRSE as the organisation has been associated with the Indian Navy for long and over the last six decades, we have primarily been building Warships and other Vessels for the country's Navy and Coast Guard. From Frigates, Corvettes, Fleet Tankers, Landing Ship Tank, Landing Craft Utility to Survey Vessels, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Attack Craft - the repertoire is rich and varied, says Cmde P. R. Hari, IN (Retd.), Chairman & Managing Director, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, in this Special Guest Contribution.

GRSE: Creating New Horizons in Maritime Security by Cmde P. R. Hari, IN (Retd.), Chairman & Managing Director, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited
Over last 61 years, GRSE has built 788 Platforms including 107 Warships for Indian Navy, Indian Coa
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C295MW AIRLIFTERS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of C295 Transport Aircraft Manufacturing Facility - the country’s first in the Private Sector in Vadodara, Gujarat on October 30th, 2022. The facility will manufacture C295 Aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) through collaboration between Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain.

Prime Minister Modi Lays Foundation Stone of C295 Transport Aircraft Manufacturing Facility in Vadodara
This is the first project of its kind in which a Military Aircraft will be manufactured in India by
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DASSAULT AVIATION RAFALE-M FOR INDIAN NAVY

With the Deliveries of all 36 IAF Rafale Fighters of Dassault Aviation having been completed, and the Indian Navy having already tested the Rafale-Marine Carrier-Borne Fighter in Goa for evaluation in the Indian Navy’s Carrier-Fighter Tender, there is scope for additional Rafales to be purchased by India for the Indian Navy as well, which is soon starting its trials of the Rafale-Marine Carrier-Borne Variant on its Aircraft Carrier, and can go for 26 Rafale-Marine Variants, in a competition with Boeing’s F/A-18, which has heated up now.

RAFALE - MARINE Force Multiplier at Sea
While 325 Rafales Fighters have been ordered (133 for export) and 239 delivered by the end of 2021,
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IAI's DEFENCE SYSTEMS

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is a world-class Aerospace and Defence Company innovating and delivering state-of-the-art technologies in Space, Air, Land, Naval, Cyber & Homeland Security for Defence and Commercial markets. In India, IAI’s Weapon Systems & Unmanned Systems are in Service with the Indian Defence Forces, with IAI opening new Subsidiaries in India and signing MoUs with HAL.

IAI’s Strategic & Tactical Systems
IAI provides customers with tailor-made, cutting-edge solutions to the unique challenges they face
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SAFRAN AIRCRAFT ENGINES

Recently, the CEO of French Aircraft Engine Maker SAFRAN called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and briefed the RM on Safran’s Mission in India. A World-Leading Military Aircraft Engine Manufacturer, No. 1 in Europe, Safran Aircraft Engines powers some 20 types of Military Aircraft in 30 countries, including the M88 Engine for Rafale Fighters. Safran Military Engines for Rafale & Mirage 2000 Fighters are global benchmarks

French Aircraft Engine Maker SAFRAN Group CEO Meets Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Chanakya features the Safran M88 Engine powering the Rafale Fighters and Safran’s plans to ‘Make-in
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Navantia, Reliable Partner for India

Navantia is attending Defexpo 2022 with the commitment of strengthening ties with the Indian Industry, finding ground for collaboration and for developing further the promising future of the Naval Industry in India. The company is confident in bringing its best endeavour and commitment in order to meet both the Indian Navy needs and the Government’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat strategy in the Defence Sector.

Navantia, Reliable Partner for India
Navantia is attending Defexpo 2022 with the commitment of strengthening ties with the Indian Indust
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INTERVIEW: William L. Blair, Vice President & Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India

Lockheed Martin presents the C-130J Super Hercules, of which the IAF operates a fleet. The Lockheed Martin F-21 Fighter Jet, an equally impressive Multi-Mission Platform, for which Lockheed Martin announced the future potential production in India in Partnership with Tata Advanced Systems; and its’ Multi-Mission Rotorcraft, like Sikorsky’s MH-60R, S-92, CH-53K & S-76; the Javelin - the world’s most versatile Precision Weapon System, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The MH-60R SEAHAWK Helicopter is one of the world’s most advanced Maritime Helicopters for ASW/ASuW, now being delivered to the Indian Navy. Chanakya features an INTERVIEW with William L. Blair, Vice President & Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India, covering all these and other programmes of Lockheed Martin in India.

“F-21 Will Leverage Advanced Technologies from Across Fighter Portfolio”
Chanakya features an INTERVIEW with William L. Blair, Vice President & Chief Executive, Lockheed Ma
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INTERVIEW: ARUN RAMCHANDANI, DIRECTOR, L&T MBDA MISSILE SYSTEMS LIMITED (LTMMSL)

MBDA is a World Leader in Missiles & Missile Systems, which designs & produces Missiles & Missile Systems for the three Armed Forces - Land, Sea & Air. Chanakya Interviews ARUN RAMCHANDANI, DIRECTOR, LTMMSL, who articulates on MICA IR & RF Missiles for the IAF’s Upgraded Mirage 2000s; alongwith Naval Missiles like Sea Ceptor & Exocet MM40 Block 3 Anti-Ship Missile, which is on offer for the Indian Navy, and ATGM5 for Indian Army. L&T MBDA Missile Systems is a Joint Venture in India between MBDA & L&T.

“L&T MBDA is Focused on Winning New Flagship Missile Programmes”
Chanakya Interviews ARUN RAMCHANDANI, DIRECTOR, LTMMSL, who articulates on MICA IR & RF Missiles fo
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: A. D. RANE, DG BRAHMOS, DRDO and CEO & MD, BRAHMOS AEROSPACE

BrahMos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian Joint Venture is capable to fulfil any export requirements, if the Government decides, while serving the Indian Army, Indian Navy & Indian Air Force requirements, for which the company has received new missiles order. There is interest in BRAHMOS Missiles in countries like Vietnam & Indonesia, after an order from Philippines. In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, ATUL DINKAR RANE, Outstanding Scientist, Director General BRAHMOS, DRDO & Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace, said that BRAHMOS Weapon has “Steep Dive & Deep Penetration” Capability. He articulated on the success achieved by various BRAHMOS Variants’ proven capabilities, including the Block-III LACM. On future plans of BrahMos Aerospace, he elaborated on the BRAHMOS NG Variant, their top-most priority, and on the successful BRAHMOS-A tests of the Airborne Cruise Missile for IAF’s Su-30MKI Fighter, and on the BrahMos ‘Make-in-India’ initiatives.

“BRAHMOS Stands Out as an Ultimate Weapon System for Multiple Platforms”
In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, ATUL DINKAR RANE, Outstanding Scientist, Director General
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: C. B. ANANTHAKRISHNAN, Chairman & Managing Director, HAL

One of the largest Aeronautics Companies in Asia, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is involved in manufacturing of Military & Civil Aircraft, Navigation & related Equipment, and also Designs, Fabricates & Assembles Aircraft, Jet Engines, Helicopters and Spare Parts. In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, C. B. ANANTHAKRISHNAN, Chairman & Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Updates us on most projects that HAL is currently undertaking like LCA Tejas, Mirage 2000 Upgrade, Jaguar Darin-III Upgrade, HTT-40 BTA, IJT, LCH, LUH, ALH Dhruv Variants, UAS/RPAs, etc.

“Deliveries of 83 Mk-1A Aircraft Would Commence from February 2024”
In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, C. B. ANANTHAKRISHNAN, Chairman & Managing Director, Hindust
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INTERVIEW: Venkat Katkuri, Head of Defence & Space, Airbus India & South Asia

India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for acquisition of 56 C295MW Transport Aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) on September 24th, 2021, along with an Offset Contract. The induction of Airbus C295MW Airlifters will be a significant step towards Modernisation of the IAF’s Transport Fleet. Out of 56, 40 MTAs will be manufactured in India by TATA Consortium. Chanakya Interviews VENKAT KATKURI, Head of Defence & Space, Airbus India & South Asia, covering the C295MW Variants and the New-Generation A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transporter on offer for IAF’s FRA Project.

“A330 MRTT Carries Upto 111 Tonnes of Fuel, Highest Capacity of All Tanker Aircraft”
Chanakya Interviews VENKAT KATKURI, Head of Defence & Space, Airbus India & South Asia, covering th
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INTERVIEW: ALAIN GARCIA, Vice President, India Business Development, Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Global Services

Boeing Defense, Space & Security has supplied C-17s, Apaches & Chinooks to the IAF, and P-8Is with Harpoon Missiles to the Indian Navy. Apaches for the Indian Army are to be delivered. In an Interview to Chanakya, Alain Garcia, Vice President, India Business Development, Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Global Services, highlighted some capabilities of the F-15EX, which is participating in the Indian Air Force MRFA Fighter competition; and elaborated on Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet Block-III, which is participating in Indian Navy’s Carrier-borne Fighter competition. F/A-18 Super Hornets participated in the Operational Demonstration test flights in May & June 2022 in Goa, performed at India's Shore-Based Facility, where conditions similar to that on the indigenously-developed Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant were simulated. Soon, the INS Vikrant Carrier trials will commence. Alain also covered Boeing’s India activities.

“Super Hornet Proved its Ability to Take-Off Within INS Vikrant Ski-Jump Parameters”
In an Interview to Chanakya, Alain Garcia, Vice President, India Business Development, Boeing Defen
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad, IN (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL)

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL), the oldest Shipyard in India, has now become one of the premier Warshipbuilding Yards in India, producing Warships for the Indian Navy, which include Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes, Missile Boats, OPVs, etc. MDL has built about 800 Vessels, including 26 Capital Warships and 6 Conventional Submarines. In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad, IN (Retd), Chairman & Managing Director, MDL, elaborates on MDL’s various activities.

“MDL is Building 4 P-15B Missile Destroyers”
In this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW to Chanakya, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad, IN (Retd), Chairman & Managin
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF

Indian Air Force is going through a Transformation process acquiring State-of-the-Art Platforms and Systems, and through Upgrades, to boost India’s Air Dominance Capabilities, with 36 New Rafales, 34 out of 51  Upgraded Mirage 2000s, DARIN-III Jaguars, LCA Tejas Mk.1A, C-17s, C-130J-30s, Do-228s, Avro replacement with 56 C295MW MTAs, ALH Rudra Mk.IV, Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), Light Utility Helicopters (LUH); Mi-17V5s; Chinook Heavy-Lift Helicopters & Apache Attack Helicopters, AEW&Cs/AWACS, FRA, etc. and various types of Radar & Air Defence Weapons Systems and SAGW, either been inducted or in final stages of contract negotiations. Chanakya Interviewed AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF (CAS), who briefly covered many IAF programmes of Modernisation, including Fighters & Weapons, Upgrades, AEW&Cs, FRA, Transporters, Trainers, Air Defence, S-400, Missiles, UAS/RPAS, CUAS, UAVs, Upgrading Combat Helicopters, etc. We feature the Exclusive Interview of the Air Chief with Chanakya:

“Work is Underway for the Development of Armed Drone Technology by DRDO”: CAS
Chanakya Interviewed AIR CHIEF MARSHAL V. R. CHAUDHARI, CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF (CAS), who briefly c
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Navantia S81 'Isaac Peral' Submarine Completes Initial Sea Trials

Navantia has just introduced Jose Porto, a Naval Architect with 19 years of experience in Military Programmes, who is taking over the Navantia India Liaison Office, which is located in New Delhi. Mr. Jose Porto has filled up different positions across the S80 Submarines Programme, and over the last four years he was working for the DDG TSP Programme for the Australian Navy as Platform Systems Engineering Manager focused on increasing Australia Defence Capabilities and transferring knowledge.

Navantia S81 'Isaac Peral' Submarine Completes Initial Sea Trials
“The S80 Submarines integrate cutting-edge technologies and innovate solutions, validating that all
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Boeing Focused On Expanding India’s Supply Chain Capabilities

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IAF's RAFALE FIGHTERS

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SAFRAN AIRCRAFT ENGINES

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Interview: Col. H.S. Shankar, CMD, Alpha Designs Technologies (ADTL)

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CARMENTA Will Push Forward the EU Technological Excellence to Achieve Air Superiority Goal

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CARMENTA Will Push Forward the EU Technological Excellence to Achieve Air Superiority Goal
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ROSOBORONEXPORT, RUSSIA

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Russian Helicopters Mi-171Sh Military Multi-Role Transport Helicopter
Rosoboronexport/ROSTEC - Russian Helicopters is a leading player in the Global Helicopter Industry,
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BEML Contribution on Defence Services: By Amit Banerjee, Chairman & Managing Director, BEML LIMITED

Being India's major Defence Equipment Manufacturer, BEML keeps the Indian Army and other Defence Forces abreast with State-of-the-Art Military Equipment. Amit Banerjee, Chairman & Managing Director,  BEML LIMITED, writes a guest column on BEML.

BEML Contribution on Defence Services, By Amit Banerjee, Chairman & Managing Director, BEML LIMITED
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INTERVIEW: JORGE GARCÍA MONEDERO, INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, NAVANTIA

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MoD Signs Contract With Airbus Defence & 56 C295MW Transporters for IAF

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IAF's RAFALE FIGHTERS

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News



RAFALE - MARINE Force Multiplier at Sea

DASSAULT AVIATION RAFALE-M FOR INDIAN NAVY


With the Deliveries of all 36 IAF Rafale Fighters of Dassault Aviation having been completed, and the Indian Navy having already tested the Rafale-Marine Carrier-Borne Fighter in Goa for evaluation in the Indian Navy’s Carrier-Fighter Tender, there is scope for additional Rafales to be purchased by India for the Indian Navy as well, which is soon starting its trials of the Rafale-Marine Carrier-Borne Variant on its Aircraft Carrier, and can go for 26 Rafale-Marine Variants, in a competition with Boeing’s F/A-18, which has heated up now.


RAFALE - MARINE Force Multiplier at Sea

While 325 Rafales Fighters have been ordered (133 for export) and 239 delivered by the end of 2021, by 2022 there are 453 Rafales on order (261 for export), as the UAE, Indonesia & Greece contracts come into effect.


The Indian MoD & Navy have been on the hunt for Multi-Role Carrier-Borne Fighters for its new indigenously developed Aircraft Carrier. The Indian Navy has indicated that it remains determined to acquire a Twin-Engine Fighter Aircraft to replace the MiG-29Ks, which currently operate from the INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrier.


In an earlier visit to India, the French Armed Forces Minister had also expressed her willingness to supply the Carrier-Based Rafale Marine to India. She had stated, “We know the Aircraft Carrier will be arriving soon, and that planes will be required. If India decides to buy another Rafale, we are ready to offer it.” At the time, she had also declared that France would supply additional Rafale Fighters over and above the 36 being acquired by the Indian Air Force, if India needs it. “We're ready to answer any additional needs or requests that could be made by India. We know that an Aircraft Carrier will soon be delivered. Aircraft are needed. So we're open and ready to provide any other Rafale, if this is India’s decision,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly had said.


Even before signing the contract for the Indian Air Force Fighters in 2016, Dassault Aviation was in talks with the Indian Navy about selling the Naval Variant of the Rafale Fighter, in Service with the French Navy on its Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle.


As per reports, Military experts did earlier believe that the Rafale-Marine Fighters had an advantage over the Boeing Super Hornets since a mega-deal worth US$ 8.7 Billion was negotiated between France and Indian Government for 36 Rafales for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It was said that the Weight-to-Power Ratio of the Rafale, as well as its Maritime Strike Capabilities and France’s proven reliability as a Strategic Partner, all work in its favour.


The Rafale Fighter has piqued the interest of both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The MBDA Meteor BVRAAM, a robust Thales AESA RBE2 Radar and an Upgraded Spectra Electronic Warfare System are all included in the Rafale-M (Marine) Version on offer to the Indian Navy, with the MBDA Exocet, and the Safran GBU16 500kg Laser-Guided Bombs in terms of weapons. It is considered to have a better Warning Capability and is more resistant to GPS Jamming. With the incorporation of the new Laser Designation Pod, the Naval Variant of the Rafale has improved Ground Target Recognition and Designation Capability with the TALIOS. It also includes a built-in Next-Generation Refueling Pod, so Air-to-Air Refueling is also possible with the aircraft in both ‘buddy-buddy’ mode and by a tanker.


The most remarkable fact of the Dassault Aviation Rafale Fighter is that despite having completed two decades of Operational Deployment in Conflict Zones for France, not a Single Fighter has been brought down yet in combat.


A Totally Versatile Aircraft as Part of The Omnirole Concept
When the Rafale programme was launched, the priority was to design a new, advanced fighter that would excel in all the missions typically carried out by a Combat Aircraft. The goal was to perform, with a single airframe, all the roles that, in the past, needed a whole range of Strike / Air-Defence Fighters and their highly specialised variants. With the Rafale, the French Armed Forces undertake the whole spectrum of Offensive and Defensive Missions at Sea, from Land Bases or from dispersed Airstrips / Motorways, Day and Night, in all weathers: Homeland Air Defence, Air Defence of the Task Force, Air Superiority in a contested environment, destruction of enemy Air Defences, Attacks of strategic targets deep inside enemy held territory, Anti-Ship Strikes, Battlefield Air Interdiction, Close Air Support of troops in contact, Pre-Strategic and Tactical Armed Reconnaissance, Buddy-Buddy Refuelling and Nuclear Deterrence with a Stand-Off Supersonic Nuclear Missile.


To accurately describe the revolutionary capabilities offered by the Rafale, French Specialists invented the expression ‘Omni-Role Fighter’ that advantageously replaces the more restrictive ‘Swing-Role’ expression commonly used by other fast jets manufacturers.


A key requirement when developing the Rafale was to provide the French Navy with its Next-Generation Combat Aircraft to replace totally outdated F-8 Crusader Interceptors, Étendard IVPM Reconnaissance Jets and Super Étendard Strike Fighters.


The end result is the Rafale M (for Marine, Naval in French) Variant optimised for sustained Combat Operations at Sea, in both littoral and blue water environments. The new fighter was specifically designed to routinely operate from modest size Aircraft Carriers (those in the 40,000-tonne Displacement Class) and to undertake all the aforementioned Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface Missions with a single-seat aircraft. For maximum Interoperability with American Aircraft Carriers, it is equipped with a launch bar and with an arresting hook fully compatible with U.S. Navy’s steam and Electromagnetic Catapults and with American recovery equipment. Its advanced aerodynamics configuration also contributes to guaranteeing excellent bring back capabilities of unexpended weapons at the end of a sortie, avoiding the need to jettison into the ocean costly guided weapons before landing back onboard a Carrier.


An Inherently Rugged Aircraft, Optimised From the Beginning for Operations at Sea
Dassault Aviation has a long experience designing and producing Naval Aircraft. Since the fifties, the Alizé Carrier-borne Surveillance Aircraft, the Étendard Light Fighter, the Atlantic 1 and Atlantique 2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Super Étendard Strike Fighter, the Falcon 20, 200 and 50 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft and the Rafale Omni-Role Fighter have all come out of the various Dassault Aviation Production Lines and have successfully served with French and foreign operators, gaining an enviable reputation of combat efficiency and technical reliability. The company is now also actively developing the Falcon 2000 Albatros selected by the French Navy to replace the Falcon 50 as its next Maritime Surveillance Aircraft.


To operate at sea, the French Navy required its new fighter to be strong and easily sustainable and maintainable. Carrier Operations are notoriously demanding for Fixed-Wing Aircraft. As a result, an exceptionally strong airframe is required to operate from an Aircraft Carrier and the Rafale is up to the task. The French Fighter has been designed to operate at sea at very high weights, while carrying a huge external payload. One has to just look at the Fighter’s Undercarriage Legs to understand how tough and durable the Rafale’s Airframe really is: everything is stronger than reinforced concrete thanks to the use of Advanced Composite Materials and of strong, corrosion resistant alloys.


Dassault Aviation has a long tradition of Corrosion Management and all its Naval Aircraft are renowned for their sturdiness and their ability to resist over the long term in a salt-laden environment. All the fighter’s components are treated to offer the highest level of protection against rust. Specific procedures have been designed for corrosion mitigation and highly efficient corrosion inhibitors have been adopted to protect the fighter. The Rafale is also fully capable of operating in severe tropical environments.


To meet the need to operate for extended periods far from its Industrial Support Infrastructure, the Rafale had to be dependable and reliable to minimise the pressure on the Logistics Supply Chain. Everything was done to ensure that Maintenance Operations could be undertaken swiftly, with the minimum number of engineers. For example, a Safran M88-2 Turbofan Engine can be changed in an hour only, even onboard a cramped Aircraft Carrier Hangar. Even more importantly, the requirement for Spares was carefully addressed to ensure a minimum amount of parts would be needed for a long-haul deployment.


Advanced Airframe With Unmatched Payload
The Rafale offers a payload / empty ratio unmatched by any other fighter in the world. This translates into huge load carrying capabilities and, in turn, into enormous fire power and unrivalled range for such a Compact Airframe. The Naval Rafale Marine is cleared to carry up to 9,500 kg of Weapons, Pods and Fuels Tanks under external 13 hardpoints spread under the Fuselage and the Wings (14 for the Rafale C/B Single-Seat/two-seat Air Force Land Variants). The number of hardpoints is high enough to carry at the same time a large array of drops tanks, of Air-to-Air Missiles and of Air-to-Surface Precision Munitions, minimising the need for dedicated escort assets for a long-distance raid, the Rafale is capable of fighting its way through a screen of enemy fighters before delivering Missiles or Guided Weapons at Land or Naval targets with clinical accuracy.


One of the Rafale’s key advantages is its capability to carry very large and very heavy external stores. For example, it can be fitted with up to three massive 2000-litre drop tanks, while still carrying two MBDA Scalp Stealth Cruise Missiles of the Scalp / Storm Shadow Family (really big weapons, each weighing about 1,300 kg) and up to six Air-to-Air Mica and Meteor Missiles. Other bulky stores could be adopted in the future to meet precise requirements for longer engagement ranges and heavier warheads.


The large external payload also allows the Rafale to fly with two 2000-litre and two 1250-litre drop tanks, with a Refuelling Pod and with up to four Air-to-Air Missiles in the Buddy-Buddy Refuelling Role. This Configuration is frequently used by the French Navy to extend the range of Carrier-Launched Strike raids, to give more time on station to Defensive Combat Air Patrols protecting the Naval Task Force, and to give away more fuel to a pilot who might be experiencing difficulties landing back onboard a Carrier in bad weather or at the end of a demanding and tiring mission.


Benign Circuit Handling
The Rafale is renowned worldwide for its ability to operate from amazingly short runways (for dispersed combat operations from austere Forward Bases, for example), and from small pitching and rolling Aircraft Carrier Decks. Its incredible short runway performance has been routinely exhibited during multinational exercises and at various airshows in France and abroad, the Rafale regularly demonstrating that it can land in shorter distances than any other conventional fighters, even at exceptionally heavy weights.


With its Canard foreplanes, its Delta Wing, its advanced fly-by-wire controls and its powerful Safran M88-2 Turbofans, the Rafale can fly at very high speed (Mach 1.8) as expected for any Combat Aircraft, but also at incredibly slow speeds, a crucial advantage when engaged in a within visual range dogfight, or when landing back on board an Aircraft Carrier.

The aircraft’s behaviour in the Carrier Landing Circuit is said to be benign as it remains fully controllable at high angle of attack. Approach speed at a typical landing weight is 125 knots only. Various refinements help the pilot trap onboard a Carrier in total safety, including a dedicated approach symbology in the Head-Up Display and an innovative and extremely precise power / drag Management System, a kind of auto throttle, but with far more advanced capabilities, the aircraft instantly and automatically adjusting the angle of attack / engine power in the grove to accurately maintain the speed selected by the pilot. The Rafale’s Safran M88-2 Engines are extremely responsive, a decisive advantage for flight safety: whenever additional power is urgently required on short finals (typically for a wave off, when the deck is engaged by another aircraft), the pilot just has to push the throttle forward to instantly re-accelerate and fly away for another circuit.


Thanks to the enormous power of its M88-2 Engines, manufactured by Safran Aircraft Engines, and to its low drag Airframe, the Rafale is also fully capable of taking-off from a Carrier without resorting to Catapults, even when loaded with Heavy Weapons.


Advanced Multi-Sensor, Multi-Spectral Suite
Providing the Rafale with the largest possible range of Sensors was an absolute priority for French Armed Forces decision-makers. The requirement was to offer overlapping Detection Capabilities in various wavelengths in order to increase the likelihood of an early detection of a threat, including Stealth Designs. Designers came out with a comprehensive Sensor Suite composed of multiple and fully complementary systems: an Electronic-Scanning Multi-Mode Radar, a fully internal Dual-Band Optronics System, an Advanced Datalink and a Self-Defence / Electronic Warfare System with Radar and Laser Warners, Flare and Chaff Dispensers and a powerful and responsive Jammer.

When used in conjunction, all these Sensors allow Rafale Aircrews to maintain situational awareness all around the fighter. They are so intuitive and easy to use that Rafale Pilots can instantly switch from Air-to-Air to Air-to-Surface Missions at the flick of a switch.


The Multi-Sensor Suite enables the fighter to operate either in an Active Mode, with the radar on, or in an entirely Passive Mode, with the radar off. The Rafale’s Front Sector Optronics Suite is a crucial tool for Passive Detection. It is mounted internally, above the radar, just ahead of the windshield to provide the best angular coverage. It is divided into an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Sensor to detect Stealth Fighters and Bombers, and a powerful TV Sensor to visually identify targets at Stand-Off ranges. The extremely sensitive Infrared Seekers of the MBDA Mica IR Air-to-Air Missiles carried at the Rafale’s Wingtips are also used to complement the fighter’s own IRST Sensor. They operate in a slightly different wavelength and so increase the likelihood of an early detection of a threat at very long ranges.


For Reconnaissance Missions, the Thales Areos / Pod Reco NG New Generation Recce Pod is carried under the Rafale’s centreline pylon. This truly impressive system includes low altitude / high-level sensors for a wide range of scenarios, including Stand-Off Recce beyond a border, peering deep inside a hostile country. The Thales Talios Surveillance, Targeting and non-traditional Intelligence Pod is now in widespread service in France, but the Rafale’s Open Architecture makes it possible to easily integrate foreign pods should it be required by an export customer. Both the Areos / Pod Reco NG and the Talios are qualified for Aircraft Carrier Operations.


Data Fusion Ahead of Its Time
In order to exploit to the full the formidable combat capabilities of its multispectral sensor suite and of its air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, the Rafale required a powerful data procession / data fusion system that would allow the aircrews to more easily focus on their mission and on their tactics.


The Rafale is, above all, an airborne sensor and Dassault Aviation and the French Armed Forces made sure the fighter could absorb, manage, process and display the enormous quantity of data it collected at any time.

Considerable efforts were made to develop for the pilot an advanced cockpit environment that would prove efficient for Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface engagement, while being comfortable enough for long-duration missions. Reducing aircrew workload and fatigue was a key driver for the development of this advanced data fusion system that is second to none thanks to extremely powerful algorithms. The Rafale’s data fusion system analyses in real time all data available from the various on-board and off-board sensors: it automatically selects the best data, correlating the information and presenting it to the pilot in a clear, concise and unambiguous manner.


All fused data is presented to the pilot right in front of his eyes on its colour head-level tactical screen. Like the Rafale’s wide angle head-up display, the head-level screen is collimated to infinity to decrease aircrew ophthalmic fatigue by reducing the need to visually accommodate and adjust the focus of their eyes to the symbology. They look at the head-level screen through a kind of magnifying lens that gives them the impression of looking at a huge display that shows a large amount of details. For example, up to 40 aircraft can be shown simultaneously on the tactical screen without a need to zoom in to decluter it. The Rafale’s two lateral displays positioned on each side of the centre screen rely on intuitive touch screen technology to facilitate and speed up the access to information. Moreover, the Rafale’s Cockpit is fully compatible with Night Vision Goggles.


An Extremely Large Array of Lethal Weapons & Sensors
The Rafale is equipped with an ever expanding array of French and foreign Weapons and Sensors. In the Air-to-Air Role, its main weapons are the Radar and Infrared-Guided Variants of the Mica Missile and the Ramjet-Propelled Meteor Missile.


The fire-and-forget Mica handles the very short range to the medium range segments while the Meteor intercepts targets at extreme ranges. For maximum agility at very short range, both Infrared and Radar-Guided Mica Variants are fitted with thrust vectoring vanes, allowing off bore-sight engagements to be initiated after target designation via a Helmet-Mounted Display. In the Air-Superiority / Air-Defence role, the Meteor is the Rafale’s weapon of choice to defeat airborne threats, while staying out of the range of the enemy’s own Air-to-Air Missiles.


In the Air-to-Surface Role, the Hammer (Highly Agile, Modular Munition Extended Range) has now become the Rafale’s standard family of Precision Weapons for a wide range of Strike Missions against stationary or moving Land and Naval targets. A wide array of 250-kg and 1000-kg general purpose and bunker bursting warheads and of Guidance Kits (GPS, Infrared and Laser) are available for the various Hammer Variants. Alternatively, US-supplied Precision Weapons of the Paveway II / III Series are also qualified on the Rafale: GBU-12, GBU-16, GBU-22, GBU-24 and GBU-49. For Anti-Ship Strikes, the acclaimed AM39 Exocet Missile remains a lethal weapon capable of sinking a Frigate-size Surface Combatant.


Its extremely good agility will allow the Exocet to avoid being intercepted by traditional Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS). To attack heavily defended targets deep inside an enemyheld territory, up to three Scalp Stealth Cruise Missiles are carried under the wings and fuselage (one under the fuselage for raids launched from an Aircraft Carrier). All these Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface Weapons are in Service with the French Navy and are in use onboard Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle.


If needed, unguided weapons can be dropped by the Rafale, for area saturation against dispersed troops in the open, for example. The Rafale is also equipped with a 30M791 30-mm Internal Cannon with 125 rounds. The gun is still useful in a wide range of scenarios, from Homeland Defence for warning shots to Close Air Support, and from close range dogfights to the destruction of Small Naval Craft.


Combat Proven Fighter
Since entering service, the Rafale has been engaged nearly continuously in combat operations, from Afghanistan to Libya, and from the Sahara to Syria and Iraq. Rafale aircrews have demonstrated again and again how well adapted the aircraft is to modern combat operations as part of a coalition, relying on network-enabled techniques and tactics to increase their operational efficiency. The aircraft’s ability to seamlessly plug into Multinational Command and Control Networks is a key driver that significantly increases its lethality in combat.


The conflict in Libya is a typical example of the high-intensity warfare the Rafale was engaged in. The fighter was used as a ‘first entry force’ asset to bring down robust and layered enemy Air Defences and quickly achieve Air Superiority over the Libyan territory. French Air Force Rafales operating from Land Bases and French Navy Rafales flown from Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle carried out countless missions over Libya to destroy a large number of hardened aircraft shelters, enemy Armoured Vehicles, Bunkers, Artillery emplacements, etc.


All Rafale Combat Operations have one thing in common: they have helped confirm the fighter’s legendary reliability and supportability and its remarkably low logistics footprint. Over the last two decades, the French Air Force and the French Navy have always recorded remarkably high availability rates, always exceeding 90%, even in demanding conditions, when flying from bare forward operating bases in the desert, or from Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle deployed for long-duration missions far from her Toulon homeport. This is a major achievement considering the number of sorties launched during the Combat Operations and the somewhat limited number of deployed fighters.


In continental France, the Rafale has now become the main interceptor for Homeland Defence and Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties. The fighter has proved ideal for that role as it is fast, with an extremely high climb rate and outstanding acceleration, excellent attributes for the QRA Mission. The TV Sensor of the Rafale’s Front Sector Optronics Suite is also a nice-to-have tool to identify suspect aircraft at Stand-Off distances. At Sea, the Passive Sensor Suite is a bonus to covertly intercept a hostile Maritime Patrol Aircraft that would attempt to monitor the activities of the Task Force.


An Easily Adaptable Aircraft
Dassault Aviation and its Partners are constantly inserting new technology in this aircraft as it becomes available. Right from the beginning, the Rafale was conceived as an easily Upgradable Combat Aircraft that could readily accept new Systems and Weapons, including those developed by foreign customers and Partner Nations. The Fighter’s Weapon System has considerable growth margins in terms of computing power and of cooling power / electric supply.

As a result, it offers enormous growth potential, a decisive advantage for its current and future operators. This growth potential covers its Weapon Systems, its Sensor Suite and its Airframe. For example, the Rafale has already been flown with conformal fuel tanks that could easily be developed to increase its operational reach even further without relying on heavy tankers.


New Antennas and Apertures are also added on a regular basis. This is for instance the case for the new Satellite Communication Array recently introduced on the French Fighters to extend their connectivity with higher echelons.


From the very start of the project, it has been a given goal that all aircraft in service would be upgraded concurrently, so as to avoid having a multiplicity of configurations, a situation that would prove costly and complex to manage on a day-to-day basis. The Rafale was cleverly designed and most changes required for new standards are restricted to software evolutions. When structural modifications are indeed required, Upgrades are straightforward: the Rafale is a fighter of the digital age, meaning that Dassault Aviation engineers use digital blue prints to accelerate any modification required by a national or export customer, relying on the acclaimed Catia 3D computer-aided design tool from partner company Dassault Systems for detailed engineering.


Dassault Aviation and Dassault Systems have pioneered the use of digital life cycle management digital solutions and they remain at the forefront of those technologies to this day, a decisive advantage for the Rafale programme.


Supported by the French Navy: Long-Term Future Assured
Thanks to Dassault Aviation’s exceptional success on the export market since 2015, the Rafale has become a new reference for the discerning customer and a best seller in a challenging and highly competitive fighter market. The fighter is in high demand and Rafale production will continue for many more years to come. The Dassault Aviation final assembly plant, in Mérignac, near Bordeaux, has ramped up production to satisfy a very strong demand but it remains fully capable of absorbing new orders and of increasing the production rates of all versions yet further to fulfil all future contracts. Lean manufacturing techniques and digital blueprints have long been adopted in the various Dassault Aviation Factories to reduce costs and increase manufacturing flexibility, thus helping quickly adjust production rates of fighters and of Falcon business jets to meet the needs of the various customers.


The Rafale is expected to remain in service until the 2060s and the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French Defence Procurement Agency, is currently undertaking comprehensive trials to extend the life of the Rafale airframe even further, allowing the type to remain in service far longer than initially envisioned.


From the start of its design process, the Rafale was developed to easily incorporate new Weapons, new Sensors and new Systems continuously, thus helping ensure the fighter remains fully relevant well into the distant future. For example, MBDA is currently actively developing for the fighter the Mica NG (New Generation) Air-to-Air Missile that will enter service in 2027 to replace the current Mica.


The Rafale Fighter’s Combat System, including its Sensors and Electronic Warfare Suite, are Upgraded once every two to three years on average, as new software drops become available.


Looking even further out, the French Armed Forces are pursuing for the Rafale Next-Generation Weapons, Innovative Multi-Domain Sensors, Advanced Communication Systems, Ultra-Precise Navigation Aids, and Unmanned and Autonomous Remote Weapons Carriers / loyal wingmen to operate alongside, and in close cooperation with the fighter. With all these refinements, the Rafale Fighter will remain fully capable of operating in contested environments and of closely cooperating with current and future allied Air & Naval assets.