New Delhi: A day after he flew a Rafale fighter jet in France, Chief of Air Staff BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said he was impressed with the superior swing role capability of the aircraft and its integrated weapon sensor.
Dhanoa, currently on a visit to France, flew a Rafale jet at the Saint-Dizier airbase yesterday to gain a first-hand experience of the aircraft. Indian Air Force is procuring the Rafale multi-role fighter jets from French aviation major Dassault under a Euro 7.87 billion (approx Rs 59,000 crore) deal signed last September. “I flew a Rafale in a two versus two mission involving two Rafales against two Mirage 2000D opponents. I am impressed with the superior swing role capability of the Rafale and it’s highly integrated weapon sensor and survivability suite,” Dhanoa said. The Air Chief also interacted with top executives of Dassault who briefed him about progress in the project to supply the jets to IAF.
Dhanoa is on a visit to France from July 17-20 to ramp up cooperation between the air forces of the two countries in a range of areas. The fighter jets are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and will be equipped with the latest missiles that will give the IAF greater “potency” over arch-rival Pakistan. The Rafale combat aircraft will come with various India- specific modifications including Israeli helmet mounted displays, radar warning receivers and low band jammers, among others.
The Inter-Governmental Agreement for the supply of the jets was signed last September, 16 months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s plans to buy 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition. According to the deal, the delivery of the jets will start in 36 months and will be completed in 67 months from the date the contract is inked.