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Rafale half-a-generation ahead of Chinese, Pakistani machines, says former IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

Former IAF Chief BS Dhanoa on Sunday said the Rafale fighter jet that India is buying from France is half-a-generation ahead of aircraft in the inventories of two of India's adversaries, China and Pakistan.

India is buying 36 Rafale jets from France and the first batch of four planes would start arriving in May this year.

"As I earlier said, Rafale is 0.5 generation ahead of aircraft that are there with two of our adversaries," he said while addressing a gathering here.


The former Air Chief was replying to a question on how the Rafale will enhance the strength of IAF.

Referring to the aerial skirmish between Indian and Pakistan on February 27 last year after Balakot airstrike, Dhanoa, who was heading the IAF then, said: "The combat of 27 (Feb 27)...it was Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat. In BVR combat, the most important thing is to look first and shoot first. For that your sensors, your data fusion, how is the capability of your air-to-air missile...can you shoot first? In that, Rafale gives you a distinct advantage."

The former IAF Chief said the results would have been different in the aerial skirmish if we had Rafale fighter jet.

"As the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) too had earlier said if we had Rafale on 27 (Feb 27), the results would have been different," he said.

Commenting on the number of casualties in Balakot airstrike, the former IAF Chief said: "We technically measure how many targets you had to hit and how many you were able to hit. We can't count casualties. This is the input of intelligence agencies. I won't comment on that."

Asked if he got some "idea" from intelligence agencies about the same, he said, "If I have got it, it is in the classified domain, I can't share it with you. If that information has to be declassified, only the source who provided that info can do it, not us."

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