At a time when critics are questioning the operational capabilities of the Rafale combat aircraft, top IAF sources said the range of the French-origin aircraft is 2.5 more than that of the Russian Sukhoi-30.
“The operational capabilities of the Sukhoi-30 in terms of capability and range are far superior than that of the MiG-29 while the range of the Rafale is 2.5 times that of the Su-30MKI in the same role,” top IAF sources told ANI here.
The sources were asked about criticism that the Air Force should have bought more Sukhoi-30s rather than getting 36 Rafale combat aircraft for meeting its requirement of multi-role combat jets.
“The Sukhoi-30, MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 are not MMRCA… None of these meet the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements of the Indian Air Force specified for MMRCA in 2007 for its requirements of 126 combat jets,” the sources said.
Explaining the combat capability and the range of the Rafale in comparison with the Sukhoi-30s, the sources said the Air Force has flown the Russian planes across the length and breadth of the country in one go and the range of Rafale is 2.5 times more than the Sukhoi.
During the Exercise Gaganshakti, the Air Force had carried out long-range sorties of the Sukhoi-30 which lasted for more than nine hours.
The sources said the Meteor missiles to be equipped on the Rafale combat aircraft was very capable missile with a range of more than 150 kilometers and has been integrated on the Gripen and the Eurofighter combat jet.
The Narendra Modi government signed a deal for 36 Rafale combat aircraft in September 2016 for over Rs 60,000 crore.
The Congress has been questioning the deal and the award of offsets contract to Anil Ambani-led Reliance but the governments of India, France and Dassault Aviation have defended the deal saying there was no wrongdoing in the procurement.
The government has stated in Parliament that the procurement was done to meet the emergency requirement of the Indian Air Force as the number of combat aircraft squadrons is dwindling.
By: Business Standard
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