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The Chosen Fleet
Eurofighter and Rafale will come equipped with advanced missiles for air-to-air and air-to-ground role

 
DIEHL's Iris T missile


By Atul Chandra and Nitasha Chawla

The Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale were shortlisted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) towards the end of April this year ending the fevered speculation on the expected choice of the MMRCA. The induction of the winning aircraft around the year 2015-2016 will see an influx of state of the art, air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry last seen in the early Eighties when the IAF added aircraft like the MiG-29, Mirage 2000 H, Jaguar and MiG-27. FORCE takes a bird’s eye view of the advanced weapons that the IAF will acquire with the MMRCA which will allow conduct of BVR engagements at much longer distances as well as enhanced precision strikes with laser guided weapons and medium range cruise missiles.

Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter is a twin engine, single-seat fighter aircraft that can perform both air-to-air and ground attack missions. This multi-role capability will be further enhanced by planned upgrades and integration of new weapons to make it swing-role, allowing the Eurofighter to switch between missions while still in the air and so respond to changing operational demands. Newer Eurofighter aircraft that will be entering service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) will feature enhanced multi-role capability with the addition of laser guided Paveway IV bombs along with the Storm Shadow cruise missiles by 2018, according to a report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO).

The MBDA-developed Meteor will provide Eurofighter with the ability to dominate the sub-continental airspace. The Ramjet propelled Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile has an estimated range well in excess of 100 km. The Meteor is the latest BVR missile scheduled to enter service and offers very long range with ultra high speed throughout its flight envelope. MBDA sources have stated that the Meteor is on offer to India for Eurofighter. The Meteor is an outcome of a collaborative programme with the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden for a replacement for the AMRAAM. Eurofighter GmbH was given authorisation in July 2009 to begin preliminary Typhoon missile carriage and release work, the first step towards full integration. According to the NAO report, the Meteor development programme has progressed to a point where a near-production standard of missile has been produced. A comprehensive proving programme consisting of modelling, ground trials, air carriage trials and guided firings have been conducted, the first of which was completed in June 2009. Production of the Meteor is expected to commence in 2012 and it is on course for an entry into service date with the RAF in 2015.

 
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