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IAF to procure HAMMER missiles under emergency acquisition powers

The HAMMER standoff missiles have the capability to take out any types of targets at the range of around 60-70 km. 

Jul 23, 2020 15:23 IST
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The Indian Air Force has decided to procure HAMMER missiles from France to further boost its combat capabilities. The order is currently being processed by the government under the emergency financial powers given to the armed forces amid the India-China border standoff. 

As per sources, the HAMMER missiles order is currently being processed and the French authorities have agreed to supply the missiles at short notice. The missiles are expected to further boost the combat capabilities of the Rafale fighter jets, which are expected to arrive in India soon.

The HAMMER standoff missiles have the capability to take out any types of targets at the range of around 60-70 km. 

What is HAMMER missile?

HAMMER is short for Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range. It is a medium-range air-to-ground missile, which was designed and manufactured for the French Air Force and Navy initially.

Key Highlights 

Due to the urgent requirement for these missiles by the Air Force, the French authorities are likely to deliver the systems to India from their existing stock, where were meant for some other customer.

The HAMMER missiles will increase India’s capability to take down any bunkers or hardened shelters in any type of terrain including the mountainous locations such as Eastern Ladakh.

The missiles will add to the firepower of the Rafale aircraft, which will be flown in from France soon.

The first five Rafale Fighter Jets are expected to arrive in India from France on July 29. Their advanced weaponry including the long-range SCALP and Meteor missiles would have reached India before their touchdown.

Significance

The Rafale fighter jets armed with long-range Meteor air to air missiles and SCALP will give India a much-needed edge over both Pakistan and China in terms of air strike capability. The air to air and the air to ground strike capabilities of the Rafale cannot be matched by both China and Pakistan.

Rafale Aircraft

The first five Rafale fighter aircraft will be flown in by pilots of the 17 Golden Arrows commanding officer.

The aircraft was supposed to be delivered earlier by May but the delivery got postponed by two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The trainers will have the tail numbers of the RB series to honour Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria who played a significant role in finalising India's largest-ever defence deal with France for 36 Rafale combat aircraft.

How will the aircraft be flown in from France?

The five Rafale Fighter Jets will be flown in from France to India. They would be refuelled once by a French Air Force tanker aircraft in the air, around Israel or Greece before they make a stopover in the Middle East.

Background 

In September 2016, India signed a deal worth over Rs 60,000 crore with France for 36 Rafales to meet the emergency requirements of the Indian Air Force. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who was the Deputy Chief of Air Staff then, had headed the Indian negotiation team for the deal. The deal is the biggest-ever for India in monetary terms.

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