The French fighter aircraft Rafale will give India “operational edge” over any adversary in air combat, said former Air Chief Marshal Fali Major.
Commenting on the just concluded Rafale aircraft deal between India and France to procure 36 fighter jets from French major Dassault, Fali Major told IANS: “It’s a fantastic beginning to get Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft.
“We have been wanting 4 plus generation aircraft for a long time. It is my firm belief that more Rafale will come. We may not get the original 126 aircraft but definitely much more than 36. This aircraft is coming with two of the finest missiles and it will give us tremendous edge over our adversaries,” he said.
He, however, said that despite the deal India would still need more aircraft to fill the operational gap.
“The gap in the number of required squadrons and existing operational squadrons will not be filled by this. We need a mix of Su-30 and LCA Tejas. Rafale will certainly help if we get four squadrons of these. We still have operational edge against our adversaries. With two new Rafale squadrons we will have operational edge, but if we get at least four squadrons we will have tremendous edge,” the ex-air chief added.
India and France signed the deal after much negotiation. The original deal of MMRCA was for procurement of 126 fighters. However, due to the high cost and technology transfer issues the deal was re-negotiated and India finally agreed to buy 36 aircraft.