Rafale, S-400 will help fill gaps in combat capabilities: Air Force chief BS Dhanoa

NEW DELHI: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said that government’s decision to procure French Rafale fighter jets and Russian S-400 air defence missile system will help fill the gap in IAF’s combat capabilities.

“The high-tech fighters like Rafale are needed because medium-tech fighters like Tejas alone cannot do. IAF is investing heavily in Tejas, looking at 12 squadrons of Tejas Mark-2 after first 123 Mark-1A jets,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.

The Air chief also justified the procurement of only two Rafale squadrons, saying that there are example of similar purchases.

In the wake of the threat being faced by the country, the Air chief said that it is crucial that India matches the force levels of its adversaries.

“No country is facing the kind of grave threat that India is confronted with. Intentions of our adversaries can change overnight. We need to match force level of our adversaries,” he said.

Listing the air warfare capabilities of country’s neighbours, Pakistan and China, Dhanoa said that a shortfall of over ten fighter squadrons has severely affected IAF’s efforts to pose a challenge to the enemies.

“Pakistan has over 20 fighter squadrons, with upgraded F-16s, and inducting J-17 from China in large numbers. China has 1,700 fighters, including 800 4-Gen fighters. But we do not have the numbers, with fighter squadrons down to 31 from sanctioned 42,” he said.

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