India's newly acquired Rafale Jets have commenced night flying exercises in Himachal Pradesh, a region to the South of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the unofficial border between India and China.
Considered the most advanced in the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s fleet, the fighter jets "are staying away from the LAC lest the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) radars in occupied Aksai Chin identify their frequency signatures and use it to jam in the worst case scenario," Hindustan Times newspaper reported quoting government sources.
The Rafales can reportedly be used for training in Ladakh sector as they are equipped with programmable signal processors (PSP) which give the jets the capacity to change signal frequencies in the event of hostilities, the report said.
“Even though the Chinese PLA have placed their electronic intelligence radars on mountain tops in the occupied Aksai Chin area for a clear line of sight, the war-time signature of Rafale will be different from that in practise mode. The PLA aircraft detection radars are good as they have been manufactured keeping the U.S. Air Force in mind,” said an expert.
The IAF is said to be tracking the air movements of PLA aircraft particularly at Lhasa Gonggar airbase in the Tibet region and Hotan airbase in China’s Xinjiang region.
First five "fully operational" Rafale fighters were delivered to India on July 29. India has a total of 36 jets on order of which 18 will be deployed at Ambala Air Base and the remainder at Hasimara Air Base near the border with Bhutan.