NEW DELHI: Amid row over Rafale deal, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said that India has got a good package. He claimed that the jet has a lot of advantages and will be game-changer when it comes to the subcontinent. “We have got a good package, got a lot of advantages in Rafale deal. Rafale is a good aircraft and will be game-changer when it comes to the subcontinent,” the Air Chief said.
When asked if the IAF was informed when the number of aircraft in the deal was brought down from 126 to 36, he said: “At the appropriate level, IAF was consulted. IAF had given some options. It is up to the government to choose. The government took a bold step and bought 36 Rafale aircraft. A high performance, high-tech aircraft has been to the given to the air force to offset the capability of the adversary.”
The IAF chief also denied allegations of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) being left out of the deal. “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,” he said.
However, he blamed HAL for the delay in the delivery of other fighter jets that it is building. “There has been a delay in the 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,” he said.
He also ruled out allegations that the present price of the deal is higher than the one agreed upon in the earlier negotiations. “It’s not simply possible that the new cost would be higher than the cost finalised earlier,” he claimed.
He added that the Indian Air Force is making concerted efforts to reduce accidents and to preserve India’s air assets.