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‘Rafale & Sukhoi Deadly Combo, Worry for Pak’: IAF Vice-Chief

Staff Correspondent

The combination of the Sukhoi Su-30MKIs and the Rafale combat jets would be very lethal and not allow Pakistan to even dare to come near the Line of Control (LoC), a top Indian Air Force vice chief, Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Thursday in New Delhi. “Once the Su-30MKI and the Rafale start operating together, it will be a potent combination against our adversaries, be it Pakistan or anybody else. Any adversary would be worried about such a combination. We will have long range advanced capability along with the advanced technology. The attrition rate that will be inflicted upon the Pakistanis would be very very high,” Bhadauria said in the backdrop of the ongoing Exercise Garuda between the French and the Indian air forces at the former’s Mont de Marsan air base.

RKS Bhadauria said that the planes would join the Indian Air Force starting September this year in France while they would get inducted in India by May next year. RKS Bhadauria said that the Indian Air Force and French Air Force pilots have learnt a great lot from each other during an exercise. “As we would be operating the planes together in future, we have also learnt how the two aircraft operated together would provide us a lethal capability in days to come,” Bhadauria added.  Thirty-six of the Rafale jets, more advanced than what the French operates, will be joining the Indian Air Force.

The 36 aircraft will be a part of two IAF Squadron, the first of which is the Golden Arrows’17 Squadron. The exercise, which started from July 1, saw the most potent fighter aircraft of the two countries going head-to-head to validate the latest defence strategies and fine-tune their waging capabilities and is expected to showcase fighter jets like Rafale, Mirage 2000, Sukhoi 30 from the two sides.

While the Indian Air Force contingent comprises of 120 air-warriors and four Sukhoi 30 MKI along with an IL-78 flight refueling aircraft, French Air Force units has the likes of Rafale, Alpha Jet, Mirage 2000, C135, E3F, C130, and Casa. The IAF’s front line fighter Sukhoi Su-30MKI will take on the Rafale multi-role jets of the French Air Force. The exercise will also give a chance to the Indian Air Force to assess the capabilities of their aircraft against the Rafale jets which will join the Indian forces in the next few months. The exercise will take place in the presence of over 150 IAF officers and airmen.

IAF and Armee de l’Air pilots also flew in each other’s aircraft, taking selfies, some of which we shared on social media which went viral. Bhadauria was the head of the Indian team that negotiated with France for the deal to acquire 36 Rafale jets in 2016. After India attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot town, the Pakistanis counter attacked firing air to air missiles from deep within their territory but the attack was foiled by the Indian Air Force MiG-21s and Su-30s.