With Rafale in its armory, IAF chief talks of ‘capability to strike first’

“In the next 3 years, we’ll see Rafale and LCA Mark 1 squadrons operating with full strength,” Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said

The fourth batch of Rafale jets arrived in India earlier this month. The country received the first batch of five planes in July last year, a second batch in November and a third batch this January.

India had maintained “no first strike” policy against its hostile neighbours for a long time, but not anymore. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said that “integration of Rafale fighter jets gives the country an edge and the capability to strike first and deep.”

Bhadauria made the statement on Monday, three days ahead of the Air Force Day parade on October 8. While speaking to news agency ANI, Bhadauria said, “In the next 3 years, we’ll see Rafale and LCA Mark 1 squadrons operating with full strength, along with additional MiG-29 being ordered in addition to current fleets.‘’


The Air Chief Marshal also showed the vision to continue to scale up IAF’s combat capability and credibility as a force to reckon through modernisation and operational training, and substantially increase indigenous equipment to achieve self-reliance and strategic autonomy.

Rafale, the newest addition to Indian Air Force, will be the major attraction of IAF day flypast on October 8. A total of 56 aircraft, including 19 choppers and seven transport aircraft, will fly during the parade.

Jaguar, Sukhoi-30, Mig 29, Tejas, Mirage 2000, Mig 21 Bison will be part of the flypast in addition to Mi 35 gunships, Apache attack choppers, C 17 heavy lifters, C130 J Special Ops planes.

Rafale is a 4.5 generation, twin-engine omnirole, air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship and nuclear deterrence fighter aircraft, equipped with a wide range of weapons.

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The Indian Air Force currently has a fleet of five Rafale fighters. India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016.

The newly-inducted Rafale fighter jets are operational in Ladakh along the LAC where the ground forces are on guard in the midst of a months-long tiff with China.

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