Nuclear capable Rafale sweetens progress
As final commercial negotiations between India and France proceed on a deal for 126 Dassault Rafale fighters as part of the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition, a recent event has sweetened progress. Last month on June 19, the French Air Force demonstrated a nuclear deterrent capability by test-firing the MBDA ASMP-A stand off nuclear capable cruise missile. The mission lasted five hours and involved pilots from the 113 Air Base conducting a mid-air refuelling, a high-altitude cruise phase, and a dived low-altitude phase to enter enemy territory.
Dassault Aviation, it may be noted, was the only one of the six MMRCA firms that explicitly detailed for the IAF its nuclear deterrent capability along with the test plans. The IAF, in fact, was briefed and kept in the loop about the ASMP-A test.