Giving a thumbs up to the recently signed Rafale deal, Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha has said that he would like to have more such fighter jets in the IAF. “We would like to have more Rafale fighters, however the decision will be taken in the near future depending on the capabilities,” Arup Raha said today. “Any Air force will be proud to have an aircraft of Rafale class. I am proud that the contract has been signed,” he added expressing confidence in the strike capabilities of the fighter jet that IAF will start getting in under 36 months.
The 7.878 billion Euros (Rs 59,000 crore) deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets was signed on September 23, and 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 fighter jets will come equipped with state-of-the-art missiles such as the Meteor and Scalp. The Meteor is a BVR air-to-air missile, with a range in excess of 150 km.
Watch this stunning video: Dassault’s Rafale Fighter Jet Flying Display At Paris Air Show 2015
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has hinted that the IAF may start getting the Rafale jets earlier than the time period of 36 months. With these missiles, the Rafale fighter jet will be a big strategic weapon in the hands of the IAF. The Meteor missile’s integration on the Rafale jets implies that IAF can now hit targets inside not only Pakistan but also across the northern and eastern borders, while still staying within India’s own territorial boundary.
The deal comes at a time when India faces heightened tensions with its neighbouring country Pakistan after the September 18 Uri attack. India has proof that the terrorists involved in the Uri attack came from Pakistan. To effectively retaliate and pre-empt future attacks, the Indian Army last week carried out surgical strikes across the LoC and destroyed many terrorist launch pads. This was the first time that the Indian government chose to come out in the open and declare that the Indian Army has carried out such an operation. Asked about the strikes, Raha said “Surgical strikes are very sensitive in nature. I won’t take any questions on the targeted operations.” However, Raha admitted that the Pathankot terror attack on the IAF base earlier this year has been a setback.