The Indian Air Force (IAF) is all geared up to induct SCALP and Meteor missiles, that are considered as 'game-changer', for its Rafale fighter aircraft. The two missiles will provide IAF with a definitive edge over other known missile systems in the region.
According to Economic Times, the SCALP standoff missile has an effective range of more than 300 km and is capable of hitting high value and strongly protected targets deep inside enemy territory. A pair of SCALP missile can be loaded in Rafale jets, which will be inducted by IAF next year.
An executive from SCALP manufacturer MBDA said, "The SCALP is highly combat proven. It can carry out high destruction against high-value assets, bridges, railroads, power plants, airfields, buried bunkers and command and control centres. It can evade enemy air defence units with its ground-hugging trajectory."
IAF officers have argued that although India already has the Brahmos cruise missile in service, SCALP - being a different system - can hit enemy targets in any weather condition. Moreover, the missiles can also evade the enemy air defence system.
In the last five years, the Indian defence strategy has been focussing on standoff capability with the political leadership believing that it can destroy any target in Pakistan without crossing border. Besides SCALP, another missile that would add more teeth to India's standoff capability is Meteor air-to-air missile that will also be handed over along with the Rafale fighter jets next year.
Meteor missiles have a range of around 150 km, that is enough to outclass any existing missile in the South Asian region including the AMRAAM missiles in service with the Pakistani F-16 fighter.
Loic Piedevache, Country Head of MBDA India said, "An aircraft equipped with both the SCALP and Meteor changes the scenario completely. It gives the operator of the Rafale many options to engage targets while ensuring the survivability of the platform and pilot."
One of the major reasons Su-30 MKI could not intercept the incoming F-16 of PAF during the skirmish along the Line of Control on February 27 was the absence of a long-range missile. Now with SCALP and Meteor in its kitty, IAF is looking for regional superiority.