Rafale jets ‘exceptional’, IAF will like to have more of it, says IAF’s Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha

IAF chief Arup Raha also spoke about the "unsolicited offers" that India has received from Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin to manufacture fighters in India and said the best deal will be selected.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:October 4, 2016 6:01 pm
 Rafale fighter jets, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin, Manufacturing fighter jets in India, Gripen, F-16, MMRCA tender, Beyond Visual Range missiles, latest news, Tejas, Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, latest news, India news Rafale fighter jets. (File)

Describing the Rafale fighter jets as “exceptional”, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Tuesday said the force would like to have more of the aircraft and insisted that the recently signed contract for 36 fighters was better than other such deals.

He also spoke about “unsolicited offers” that India has received from Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin to manufacture fighter aircraft in India and said the company which offers the best deal will be selected.

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He said Saab’s Gripen is a “good fighter” as compared to others like F-16 of Lockheed Martin but the decision will depend on many factors.

“Any air force will be proud to have aircraft of the Rafale class which is in mid-weight category. In terms of its weapons capability, air-to-air missiles, beyond visual range, air-to-ground, its avionics, instrumentation and warfare suite, it is exceptional and one of the leading aircraft of the current generation,” Raha said.

Asked if 18 more aircraft would be procured, he said, “Well, we would like to have more. But it is a decision that will be taken in the near future.”

 Rafale fighter jets,  IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha,  Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin, Manufacturing fighter jets in India, Gripen, F-16,  MMRCA tender, Beyond Visual Range missiles, latest news, Tejas, Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, latest news, India news India’s indigenous LCA, Tejas. (File)

The 7.878 billion Euros (Rs 59,000 crore) deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets was signed on September 23. The new planes will give a big boost to IAF’s defence and strike power.

The most important aspect of the deal, apart from the fact that the Rafale is a 4.5 generation fighter jet, is the firepower that India is getting in the form of long-range and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles.

Rafale jets will come equipped with state-of-the-art missiles such as Meteor and Scalp. Meteor is a BVR air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150km.

 Rafale fighter jets,  IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha,  Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin, Manufacturing fighter jets in India, Gripen, F-16,  MMRCA tender, Beyond Visual Range missiles, latest news, Tejas, Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, latest news, India news Jaguar fighter-bomber aircraft of the Indian Air Force India. (File)

“It is better in terms of price, performance-based logistics, missiles among others,” he said on the Rafale deal in comparison to the MMRCA tender and deals signed by France with other countries in world.

On the induction of light combat aircraft Tejas, he said it would be done in six squadrons, including the upgraded version.

He said the next version called Tejas ‘Mark-A’ would come with better radar, weapons, avionics, and its production will start in 2021.

 Rafale fighter jets,  IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha,  Boeing, Saab and Locheed Martin, Manufacturing fighter jets in India, Gripen, F-16,  MMRCA tender, Beyond Visual Range missiles, latest news, Tejas, Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar, latest news, India news Sukhoi MKI-30, India’s air superiority aircraft. (File)

Raha also said IAF would also be upgrading the Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter jets besides the Jaguar.

On the integration of BrahMos missiles with the Sukhoi 30 MKI, Raha said, “We hope to fire a live missile in three months.”

The IAF chief, who heads the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), a body of the three service chiefs, said he hoped the government would resolve the issues of the 7th Pay Commission and that the forces have decided to implement it based on the government’s assurances.

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  1. H
    Har har
    Oct 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm
    Why should the surgical strikes to be discussed..our army killed terrorists..that is important..not discussing..so s keep thinking how n what happnd ..hehe😂😂😂
    Reply
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      Ashok Roy
      Oct 4, 2016 at 2:16 pm
      Rafael jet is a good fighter no doubt. But when the Air Chief Marshall has confirmed it as exceptional, It must be exceptional. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What worries us is the depleting strength of squadrons and DRDO / HAL's delay in various fields like LCA MK IA ( production from 2021 ??), LCA 2 , AMCA engine selection and development of Kaveri engine for AMCA. Every time we hear about further delay . When will our Indigenous capability mature ??
      Reply
      1. S
        Sam Roy
        Oct 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm
        Best jets for India and IAF will be the home made Tejas. Arup Raha is wrong in putting Tejas down and glorifying Rafale which is a very large aircraft that will not be able to penetrate any border because of their large radar cross section.
        Reply
        1. O
          owais hasan
          Oct 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm
          when asked about surgical strikes he said no comments, everyone is questioning about fake surgical strikeslt;br/gt;hahahaha
          Reply
          1. S
            sandip pal
            Oct 5, 2016 at 2:20 am
            Haahaa it is not an episode to discuss publicly like saas bahu serials.
            Reply
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