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    Former Air Chiefs weigh in on the Rafale

    PTI|
    ​Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha
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    ​Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha

    Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha, under whose tenure the mega deal was inked, told PTI that the induction of the fleet will bolster the IAF's capability, but added that the country needs at least 126 combat jets as envisaged earlier. "It is a good aircraft. It is one of the best in the region. It is going to bolster IAF's capabilities in terms of aerospace power which has been dwindling for quite some time as there has been no induction of combat jets for quite some time," he told PTI. "The Rafale jets will increase the deterrence value. Our aim is not to fight a war unless we are forced to. It is to basically deter our adversaries and say that we will respond if you get on our wrong side," he added. "We need at least 126 aircraft of similar kind. If we get Rafale, it will be better as inventory management will become easier. It will also help maintenance, training and deployment," he added.

    ​Former Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major
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    ​Former Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major

    Another former Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major said the 36 Rafales will boost India's aerial prowess, but having at least two more squadrons will add tremendous capability to the country's air dominance capability. "The arrival of Rafales is certainly significant. It is a very good beginning after a very very long break. The Rafales will boost our strike capability. It will be great if we get two more squadrons," he said.

    ​Former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (retd) B S Dhanoa
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    ​Former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (retd) B S Dhanoa

    "Rafale has got a fantastic Electronic Warfare (EW) suite (SPECTRA), fantastic weapons and therefore are capable of protecting themselves electronically besides being able to use the terrain to their advantage," Dhanoa said. "So they (Rafales) can play an important role in doing DEAD (Destruction of Enemy Air Defence) on the Surface-to-Air Missiles that the Chinese have put on Tibet. "Once you take out those surface to air missiles, then other aircraft like Su30, Jaguars, even Mig 21s can go out and drop the bombs on the Chinese forces. The strike aircraft carrying bombs can put tonnes and tonnes of bombs on the enemy troops, freely carrying out their mission. But if you do not do DEAD then you will suffer a lot of casualties," he said.

    ​Taking on China
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    ​Taking on China

    "Against China there are big Himalayan mountains in between us which create serious line of sight issues. You can put a missile with a range of 300-400 kms on the ground in Tibet or in India. But it will only work within the line of sight," former COAS Air Chief Marshal (retd) B S Dhanoa said. He said the Rafales, with terrain following capability, will give India a major capability enhancement. "In air combat, the first thing that is important is information dominance, you get information and deny the enemy the information. The key role the Rafales will play in Tibet is information dominance and in case of Pakistan, it is a major deterrent. Of course there will be other roles too," he said.

    PTI
    ​On the Chinese J-20s
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    ​On the Chinese J-20s

    "The world does not know the capability of J-20s. You cannot really know and you will never know. The Rafale is a much more superior aircraft," former Chief of Air Staff Fali Homi Major added.

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