New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said on Monday that while Pakistani jets were beaten back when they had entered Indian airspace on February 27, the favourable result could have been even more decisive had the Indian Air Force inducted Rafale jets in time.
Highlighting how Pakistani jets, including the F-16s, were thwarted in their misadventure, the IAF chief said that Rafale jets could have been even more effective. "The results would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted our Rafale aircraft in time," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI while delivering the Arjan Singh memorial lecture here.
Pakistani jets had crossed into Indian airspace after India had successfully targeted terror hubs in Balakot. The PAF jets, however, failed to hit their intended targets, thanks to a quick response from IAF jets. "Post our strike on terror training camp, to thwart impending strike on our soil, PAF launched a riposte on 27 Feb against Indian military targets. Did they succeed in their objective? Answer is clear ‘No’ as attack was thwarted while we achieved our objective in Balakot," Dhanoa said.
India had scrambled Mig-21 Bison and Mirage-2000 fighter jets against a PAF fighter contingent which also had F-16s. Dhanoa credited the success to the fact that both Mig-21 Bisons and the Mirage-2000 had been upgraded. He however said that Rafale could have made an even bigger impact in the dogfight.
India's purchase of 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition from France's Dassault Aviation has been under a shroud of controversy with Congress accusing the government of - among others - paying an inflated price. The government has maintained that it is a false accusation while also highlighting the need for the twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).
Dhanoa, in the past, has also highlighted the potential Rafale jets have and has called these a 'game-changer.'