Rafale is beautiful, will add teeth to IAF’s combat capabilities: IAF Vice Chief

NEW DELHI: In the midst of  a raging political squabble over purchase of 36 Rafale jets, the Vice Chief of the IAF said Wednesday that the “beautiful” aircraft will give India “unprecedented” combat capabilities and those criticising the deal must understand the procurement norms.

Air Marshal S B Deo also indicated unhappiness over delay in delivery of indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and suggested that private sector should be involved in its production.

The IAF is reeling under shortage of combat aircraft. At present, it has 31 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. Each squadron comprises 16-18 aircraft.

On Rafale jets, he said “all discussions on the deal” were taking place as people do not have adequate information about the procurement procedure.

“We are waiting for the aircraft to come. It is a beautiful aircraft. It is a very capable aircraft. It is a capability that we need quickly,” he said on the sidelines of an event when asked about the controversy surrounding the Rafale deal. (AGENCIES)