Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria early Friday took a sortie in an aircraft, which he described as a 'game changer'. Moving a step ahead, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday integrated the Rafale fighter jet into its ranks.
Commenting on the development, Bhadauria said the Rafale fighter jet and Su-30MKI jets will be a deadly combination once they start operating jointly and will make India’s enemies including Pakistan worried in case of any conflict.
If Islamabad dares to mount February 27-type attack on India once the two fighters start operating together, the losses suffered by Pakistan would be very high and attrition that the IAF will inflict upon them would also be very high, he added.
Speaking to ANI on the sidelines of the Exercise Garuda, Bhadauria said, “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. It will be a potent capability. Any adversary would be worried about such a combination.”
Bhadauria was the head of the Indian team that negotiated the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets with France in 2016.
A strike package of 20 fighter planes was sent by Pakistan after India had attacked the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot. The attack was, however, foiled by the MiG-21s and Su-30s.
Post the aerial conflict, the Indian Air Force had said that if the IAF had Rafales fighter jets then the Pakistanis would not have even dared to come close to the Line of Control (LoC).
The Rafale is a twin-engine multi-role fighter jet that is nuclear-capable and versatile enough to engage in both air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. In addition, with the on-board Electronic Warfare (EW) system, the Rafale can also perform reconnaissance and radar jamming roles.
In 2006 the IAF upgraded more than 100 of the original MiG-21 jets to the relatively newer MiG-21 Bison - a capable modern fighter jet that went toe-to-toe with more advanced Pakistani F-16s in February, after India's retaliatory air strikes for the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 soldiers.
An IAF contingent is currently in France for the joint exercise 'Garuda' with the French Air Force (FAF) to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two Air Forces, reported ANI.
India and France are strategic partners and have been increasing their cooperation from the past many years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government signed a government-to-government deal for 36 Rafale fighters with France in the year 2016.
The first squadron would be based in Ambala while the second one would be based in Hasimara Air Force Station in West Bengal's Alipurduar district. The latter is expected to be ready by 2020.
Video: IAF Vice Air Chief Marshal RK Bhadauria flies Rafale fighter jet at French air base