Rafale and S-400, a booster dose for IAF, says Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa
New Delhi, Oct 3: Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Wednesday said that both Rafale and S-400 air defence missile system deals are like a booster dose.
Backing the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal, the IAF chief added the Rafale was good aircraft and that it would be a game-changer when it comes to sub-continent.
Speaking on the deal over the S-400 missile system, Dhanoa said that delivery of the system will be made in 24 months "as and when the government approves it."
While addressing the press conference, the Air chief also said that the number of depleting squadrons in the IAF was a "major concern."
With the Congress relentlessly attacking the BJP-government over the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) being left out, Dhanoa said,''It was decided to buy two squadrons through Government to Government, to meet up emergency requirements. HAL was involved in ToT (Transfer of Technology) and licensed production. There is no question of HAL being left out.''
On being asked "if the IAF was informed when number of aircraft in Rafale deal was changed from 126 to 36, Dhanoa said,''At the appropriate level, IAF was consulted. IAF had given some options. It is up to the government to choose.''
The Air Chief Marshal also highlighted on the delay in several defence procurements. He said there has been delay in delivery schedule in contracts already executed to HAL. There is a three years delay in delivery of Sukhoi-30, 6 years delay in Jaguar, 5 year delay in LCA, and 2 year delay in delivery of Mirage 2000 upgrade.
Dhanoa on Wednesday made it clear that the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to acquire a total of of 239 (12 squadrons) Tejas aircraft. At a press briefing in New Delhi, the Air Chief Marshal said the IAF has reposed it's belief in Tejas and the development of LCA Mark-2 is in progress.
His statements come at a time when the government has been accused of allegedly selecting Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as partner for the Rafale deal over state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
The government has been maintaining that it has no role in the selection of Reliance Defence by Dassault Aviation.