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Rafale Fighter Jet Will Be Game-Changer, Says IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

Darpan News Desk IANS, 03 Oct, 2018 10:40 AM
    Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said the Rafale fighter jet would be a “game changer” once it came and would be a “booster dose” for the IAF.
     
     
    Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day here, the Air Chief Marshal was replying to a question on the purchase of Rafale when he said the government took a “bold step” in deciding on its purchase. 
     
     
    About the major concerns for the IAF, he said, “The depleting fighter jets is an issue. The signing of 83 Tejas, 36 Rafale besides Sukhoi-30 will arrest the drop down from the existing 31 squadrons.”
     
     
    The IAF currently has 31 squadrons as against the 42 mandated by the government for a two-front war.
     
     
    On being asked about China, he said they were watching the development of infrastructure and had a plan to counter that.
    The IAF chief denied that the 50 fighter jets in Tibet were a threat. 
     
     
    He refused to comment if the Rafale, after the recent controversy, could be ruled out as a contender for the forthcoming tender to get 110 fighter jets. 
     
     
    He said the IAF was consulted at the “appropriate level” while deciding getting only 36 and not the planned 126 Rafale jets.
     
     
    On the HAL not being chosen, he said it is the corporate decision of HAL. He thanked the HAL saying it was due to them that the Gagan Shakti exercise was such a success.
     
     
    He, however, gave figures of delay saying the HAL was running three years behind schedule, the Jaguar upgrade is six years behind schedule and LCA operational clearance is five years behind schedule.
     
     
    Commenting on the upcoming purchase of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia, the IAF chief said the CAATSA (Countering Adversaries of America Through Sanctions Act) is not going to come in the way of getting the S-400.
     
     
    For the procurement of 110 fighter jets, he said the process would not be as long as the previous one, referring to the tender to get 126 planes which was initiated in 2007 but could not be completed till 2015.

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