Meteor missile deal is to reclaim India’s Air Force from rivals
- The weapon comes as part of the Rafale combat agreement with France
- Missiles have a striking range of almost 150 km and can be a ‘game changer’
- See more news from India at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome
The Meteor missile, which will join the Rafale combat agreement signed by the Narendra Modi government, will help restore Indian supremacy air supremacy against their rivals in Pakistan and China.
India, along with the Rafales, has purchased a package of the European Meteor missiles and may prove to be game changers due to their out-of-sight range of nearly 150 km, security forces sources told Mail Today.
The sources said that the Indian Air Force had full superiority over the Pakistan Air Force until the Kargil War and a few years later, as no out-of-sight missile was fitted to their F-16s or aircraft supplied by the Chinese.
The Meteor out-of-sight missiles will strengthen India’s air defense
The Meteor missile was not part of the Rafale deal done by the UPA government, but when Modi decided to give an emergency order for the Rafale aircraft from France, the Air Force wanted to include the Meteors as part of the weapon package.
During the Kargil War, the Indian side had two out-of-sight missiles, including the French S530D and the Russian RVV AE missile, that prevented Pakistanis from using their fighter aircraft fleet in the Kargil War with India, the sources said.
“The overarching consideration was the BVR missile capability of IAF fighters, which adversely affected the chances of mission success,” former Pakistan Air Force officer Air Commodore Kaiser Taufel had written about the war.
Missiles have a striking range of almost 150 km and can be a ‘game changer’
However, the situation changed after the Pakistanis received the AIM120-C5 out-of-sight missiles capable of taking out enemy planes 100 km away and mounted on their F-16s.
This slightly changed the balance in terms of air superiority over the air of South Asia, but with the arrival of the Meteor now, India can again say it would be able to fully dominate in terms of air-to-air combat with air opponents the sources said.
The sources said that even the Chinese do not have proven air-to-air missiles that can be launched from any of their fighters.
“A good thing about the Meteor is that it is not yet integrated with aircraft of American origin and that the Pakistani F-16s or the Chinese JF-17s will not be able to get them in the near future. The possibility that the Chinese integrate them is also excluded, “a source said.
India is currently getting the missiles with the Rafales it has purchased, but has plans to integrate these missiles into Russian Su-30 fighters, which will be upgraded in the near future.
India and Russia are discussing the possibility of upgrading the early batches of the Su-30MKIs, which were introduced in the late 1990s and early 2000s and would cost India over Rs 25,000 crore.
The Meteors have been tested with the French Air Force Rafales since 2015 and the campaign was completed last year.
Under the government of 2016, the Indian Air Force signed a contract for 36 Rafale aircraft under a government agreement with France, which could arrive in the country in early 2019. The Air Force has plans to deploy each of Rafale’s squadrons to the fronts of China and Pakistan in Hashmira and Ambala, respectively.