Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief A Y Tipnis who commandeered the IAF during India’s victory in the Kargil War has called the deal for 36 Rafale jets a masterstroke.
In an article authored for The Week, the former air chief marshal writes that the government to government deal to acquire Rafale was a masterstroke. He added that that as the Indian Rafale would take to the skies, so would the moral of IAF personnel.
He also slammed the political one-upmanship over the deal and equated it to an anti-national activity.
He stressed that the Rafale is one of the best aircraft in the world, outranking almost all contemporary fighters in terms of operational capabilities, safety features and ease of operation, maintenance.
Some of the cutting-edge features of Rafale which he laid our were:
- Substantial increase in action radius
- More wing and fuselage stations to carry weapons, fuel tanks
- SPECTRA system which immensely enhances IAF’s ability to operate in heavily defended enemy territory
- Long-range radar-guided Meteor air-to-air missile for air dominance
- Ease of maintenance
He also added that the Rafale is “Streets ahead” of Sukhoi Su-30MKI, which was IAF’s last major jet acquisition. He goes on to call the Rafale a quantum leap over the Mirage 2000 also manufactured by Dassault.
He strongly recommend that the initial deal for 36 Rafales be converted to a 126 aircraft one. He also asserted that the French jet would be a clear winner of the procurement procedure if the criteria is “value for money”.