Here’s why India’s Rafale fighter jet is a better choice for dogfight than Pakistan’s US-made F-16

According to reports, the warplanes that rained bombs at al-Watiya airbase in western Libya were Rafale jets, which means that the attack was carried out either by France or Egypt as they are the only two countries within the range of the base that possess this type of aircraft.

Pakistan must be following this development closely as India is also getting the Rafale fighter jets and the bombings on Turkish airbase reveal that Pakistan Air Force’s F-16s are no match for the French fighter jets. The PAF’s F-16s, which are supplied by United States of America are the most sophisticated fighter jets of PAF but with Indian Air Force getting Rafale, the PAF will not be able to carry out any aggressive move against India.

Notably, the first batch of six Rafale fighter jets is most likely to arrive in India on July 27. The delivery of aircraft was earlier supposed to have been done by May end, but this got delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

On June 2, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with his French counterpart Florence Parly during which she conveyed that the Rafale jets will be delivered to India as scheduled notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic in France.

The first squadron of the aircraft will be stationed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.

Here is a comparative study of the features between Rafale and the US-made F-16 in possession of Pakistan. (With inputs from quora.com)

Rafale:

  • Rafale can fly up to 2,000 nautical miles at a stretch.
  • Rafale’s maximum cruise altitude is 50,000 feet.
  • The rate of climb is 60,000 feet per minute.
  • Cruise speed long range is 1,032 knots.
  • Cruise speed normal range 750 knots.
  • Max speed winner is Rafale 579 knots. The Rafale reaches a maximum speed that is 410 knots faster than the F-16.
  • Maximum thrust is 34,000 (lbf / pound-force). Rafale produces 5,000 more pound-forces of thrust than the F-16.
  • Take-off Weight for Rafale is 54,000 (lbs)
  • Exterior Dimensions: Height 17.52 feet., wingspan 35.43 feet, total length 50.10 feet.
  • Rafale is 0.79 feet longer than the F-16.
  • Rafale has a 2.62 foot wider wingspan than the F-16.
  • Rafale is 0.82 feet taller than the F-16.

Armament: Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30/M791 autocannon with 125 rounds

Missiles:

Air-to-air:

MBDA MICA IR or EM or Magic II and

MBDA Meteor in the future

Air-to-ground:

MBDA Apache or

MBDA Storm Shadow-SCALP EG or

AASM-Hammer or

GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-22 Paveway III or GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II

GBU-24 Paveway III

AS-30L

Air-to-surface:

MBDA AM 39-Exocet anti-ship missile

MBDA CVS401-Perseus in the future

Deterrence:

ASMP-A nuclear missile

Pakistan’s F-16:

  • F-16 can fly 2,280 nautical miles.
  • The maximum cruise altitude is 50,000 feet.
  • The rate of climb is 60,000 feet per minute.
  • Cruise speed long range is 1,303 knots.
  • Cruise speed normal range is 330 knots.
  • Maximum thrust is 29,000 (lbf / pound-force)
  • Take-off Weight for F-16 is 54,000 (lbs)
  • The F-16 weights 6,000 pounds less than the Rafale.

Armament:

Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel Gatling cannon, 511 rounds

Rockets:

4 × LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19/7 × Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively)

4 × LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19 × CRV7 70 mm rockets)

4 × LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4 × Zuni 127 mm rockets)

Missiles:

Air-to-air missiles:

2 × AIM-7 Sparrow

6 × AIM-9 Sidewinder

6 × AIM-120 AMRAAM

6 × IRIS-T

6 × Python-4

Air-to-ground missiles:

6 × AGM-65 Maverick

4 × AGM-88 HARM

AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM)

Anti-ship missiles:

2 × AGM-84 Harpoon

4 × AGM-119 Penguin