indranilroy wrote:^^^ That is exactly what I have been saying for a while. Rafales for nuclear bum delivery makes very little sense to me. But Austin, balanced as he is, won't listen to any other argument because somebody on the inside has told him that Rafales are needed for this purpose!
To me, it is a solution looking for a problem.
Because the game is physiological as much as it is about deterrent , for most part it is physiological , A free fall bomb with nuclear weapons that is flying in our own airspace and can be deliver with adequate package as part of strike group in the event of crisis is of great physiological importance , similar to a Nuclear Bomber. Plus for the leadership it provides a last moment man in loop with adequate PAL in place , if required you can always return back is a reassurance from political pov
We have a policy/doctorine of triad established and Nuclear Bomber lets call Sub-Strategic/Tactical bomber will be an open part of triad.
Right now we really dont have a Stand Off Weapon for Rafale ( ASMP wiighs nearly 900 kg versus Brahmos Airlaunched 2.5 T ! ) , The Brahmos and Nirbhai can certainly be not carried by Rafale , The nearest weapon thats on the horizon is Brahmos-M and it can be any body baby that can prove we can Nuclearise Brahmos with a warhead size that can fit into Brahmos-M , May be we can but its an open bet. So practical we are left with free fall Nuclear Weapon for many years if not decades to come.
Rafale wont be limited to Nuclear role and will have Conventional capability like its M2K counterpart and there are also tell tale signature for such a process like IAF asking dedicated 2 Airbase for Rafale Squadron , Asking for MRO/Spares facilities at these base, Higher uptimes etc I believe eventually these two bases would have Nuclear Weapons Deployed overtly to be mated with Aircraft at short notice if required.
Who known at some point in future we may even lease/buy few bomber from Russia and these airbase would play the same role.
Thats my read of situation ofcourse time will tell if I am right or wrong.