Referring to the 27 February aerial fight with Pakistan, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday while delivering the Arjan Singh memorial lecture in IAF auditorium in Subroto Park here earlier today said the results would have been further skewed in favour of India if it had inducted the Rafale combat aircraft in time.
“The results would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted our Rafale aircraft in time,” said Dhanoa. The aerial dogfight was an immediate result of the Indian Air Force Balakot airstrike.
The Air Chief Marshal said, “In the Balakot operations, we had technology on our side as we could launch precision standoff weapons with great accuracy. In the subsequent engagement, we came out better because we had upgraded our MiG-21 Bisons and Mirage-2000 aircraft.”
“With the proposed induction of Rafale and the S-400 SAM system in the next two to four years would once again tilt the technological balance in our favour, like it was in 2002 during Operation Parakaram,” he added.
Dhanoa further said, “Post our strike on terror training camp, to thwart impending strike on our soil, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a riposte on February 27 against Indian military targets. Did they succeed in their objective? The answer is a clear ‘no’ as the attack was thwarted while we achieved our objective in Balakot.”
Referring to the 1965 war, the Air Marshall said that, “A lot was written and talked about the measure of victory. How many aircraft did we lose and how many Pakistani’s lost and counting that whether we won or not? Well in 1965, Pakistan started the war with a clear cut aim of annexing Jammu and Kashmir through military means. It lost because it couldn’t do so. IAF played a major part in thwarting the armoured thrust in the Chamb-Jaurian sector. In the ensuing air battles as per official history, IAF lost 59 aircraft compared to 43 of the PAF.”
“At the beginning of the century, we realised the need to procure fourth generation fighter aircraft to meet the projected shortfalls in aircraft strength caused due to delays in our indigenous LCA project. To be fair with our premier Aeronautical Development Agency, building an aircraft was no easy proposition. There are only a handful of countries that have the capability to manufacture a fighter aircraft end-to-end on their own as aviation requires exacting standards and cutting edge technologies,” he said.
Dhanoa said that the IAF’s modernisation programme is to progressively absorb technology through indigenisation in the long-run.