On Wednesday, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said that the Rafale fighter jet is a game changer and the Supreme Court had given a fine judgement by dismissing the petitions against the deal.
He was talking to media in Jodhpur where Aviaindra 2018, a joint exercise between Indian and Russian air forces was held. Replying to a question, Dhanoa asked “who said we don’t need the Rafale? Government has said it is needed, we have said we need it”. He added that the Supreme Court has given a very fine judgement, there also it is mentioned that the fighters are needed.
It took us so long to get the aircraft. During that period, out adversaries, neighbours have upgraded their air forces, but we could not do it, the Air Chief Marshal said. He said, “As I had said during the press conference on the Air Force day, Rafale is a game changer, it is a different level. When it comes into the subcontinent and in this particular sector, it will be the most advanced aircraft”.
Making the case for Rafale, he explained that is we have less advanced aircraft, we have to send 2-4 aircraft against one single advance aircraft. And similarly, we have advanced aircraft with better avionics, designs etc, than the enemy will have to send 3-4 aircraft against us.
He said that Rafale is an advanced platform, and Indian Air Force has made sure that in the deal for 36 Rafale fighters, we get the best systems on board, so that it counts.
It may be noted that due to phasing out of MiG-21 planes, and the inability of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Developmental Agency (ADA) to produce the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas despite a delay of more than 30 years, the combat abilities of IAF has taken a hit. Against the sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons, IAF currently operates 35 squadrons. Due to this grave situation, IAF had to spend more than ₹20,000 crore in upgrading old fighter planes. Given this scenario, it is eagerly waiting for the 2 squadrons of Rafale aircraft that India is directly buying from France.