Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa on Monday said that Rafale jets will the best combat aircraft in the Indian sub-continent and once these are inducted, Pakistan won’t dare to come near the Line of Control (LoC) or the international border.
In a media talk, Dhanoa said: “When the Rafale comes in, it will ensure that the deterrence of our air defence will increase manifold and they (Pakistan) will not come anywhere near our Line of Control or border. That kind of capability we will possess for which presently they (Pakistan) don’t have an answer.”
On the sidelines of a function organised in Chandigarh for the induction of four US-made Chinook helicopters, he was asked about the situation on February 27 when Pakistani F-16 jets attacked Indian military positions, a day after the purported IAF strikes in Balakot.
The first Rafale aircraft under a 36-plane deal with France is scheduled to be delivered in September to the IAF. The Rafales will be armed with Meteor air-to-air missiles which have the capability of shooting down enemy planes at strikes ranges up to 150 km, reported Hindustan Times.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa asserted that at present, it is going to be the best aircraft in terms of the weapons capability in the Indian sub-continent and would be also the best in comparison with what China and Pakistan have.
“We are going to get Rafale in the month of September. Rafale will give a tremendous jump to our capability and it is superior to all the aircraft in the inventory of both our adversaries,” he said.
He also outlined the salient features of the Chinook helicopters and said that these aircraft will be very useful for the IAF in high-altitude regions.
“Ability to transfer heavy loads and acclimatise troops from high altitude into another valley is a game-changing capability. If the enemy surprises us in any such valley, we can move troops immediately to such spots to get into battle. Our ability to do this is now enhanced for day and night with this helicopter,” he said.
Dhanoa, while asserting that inter-valley troop transfer will be helpful for the Indian military along borders with Pakistan and China, outlined that “the high-altitude game is more with China than Pakistan”.
The Rafale jet deal controversy has been on the boil over the last few months. Congress has alleged irregularities in the deal for 36 aircraft and claimed that the Narendra Modi government is buying them at a price much higher than the one that was being negotiated by the previous government.