IAF chief BS Dhanoa: Rafale a game changer, can’t comment on politics
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa on Wednesday said that Rafale is a beautiful jet and will be a game changer when it comes to the subcontinent. However, Dhanoa denied to comment on the politics being done on the acquisition of the fighter jets from France.
Addressing a press conference, Dhanoa said, “It’s a very good aircraft. When it comes to the subcontinent, it will be a game changer. We have lots of advantages in the Rafale Deal.” He clarified it that IAF was consulted before the acquisition and after being recommended, the Union government proceeded.
The IAF chief said, “At the appropriate level, IAF was consulted. IAF had given some options. It is up to the government to choose.” Asked on why HAL was not given the contract, he replied that there has been a delay from the manufacturing firm. Dhanoa said, “There has been delay in delivery schedule in contracts already executed to HAL. There is a 3 yrs delay in delivery of Sukhoi-30, 6 years delay in Jaguar, 5 year delay in LCA, and 2 year delay in delivery of Mirage 2000 upgrade.”
But he said, that HAL was never being left out. Dhanoa stated, “It was decided to buy two squadrons through Government to Government, to meet up emergency requirements. HAL was involved in ToT (Transfer of Technology) and licensed production. There is no question of HAL being left out.”
Supporting the government’s move to acquire Rafale, the IAF chief said, “We had reached an impasse. We had 3 options, first was either to wait for something to happen, withdraw RFP or do an emergency purchase. We did an emergency purchase. Both Rafale and S-400 deal is a booster deal for air force”, adding, “Government took a bold step and bought 36 Rafale aircraft. A high performance, high-tech aircraft has been to the given to the air force to offset the capability of the adversary.”