Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to receive the first batch of four Rafale fighter aircraft as part of a controversial deal with France next month, according to a report by The Financial Express. Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, the aircraft will come equipped with Meteor missile, SCALP ground attack missiles with a range of up to 300 Kms. But the Indian Air Force (IAF) still requires several more fighter jets to meet the demands.
According to The Economic Times, state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has proposed for an order to manufacture additional 72 more Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets to add to the current order for 272, but officials said that the air force has not been keen due to budgetary issues.
The report added that squadrons of the Su-30 MKI jets were proposed to meet gaps in fighter squadron the air force seems to be only keen on ordering replacements for aircraft that have been lost in accidents.
The ET report added that the HAL is hopeful that an order for at least 10 additional aircraft is placed this year so that its Sukhoi manufacturing plant in Nasik does not fall idle.
“We are currently making 12 of the fighters per year at the Nasik plant,” ET quoted HAL chairman R Madhavan as saying.
India has signed an agreement to purchase two squadrons (36) of the twin-engine multi-role aircraft Rafale, capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and decided to base one each on its western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China.Strategic deterrence is a strategy under which a country uses the threat of reprisal effectively to preclude an attack from an adversary.
Last year, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had termed the introduction of the Rafale and the Russian S-400 missile defence system as “game-changer”.The IAF used the Mirage-2000 to struck a terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February this year.
The upgrade would keep the aircraft operationally relevant for future combat operations. However, it was said that If India had Rafale at the time, the outcomes could have been more favourable for the country.