Rafale will give unprecedented combat capabilities: IAF

The ongoing row surrounding the Rafale fighter aircraft deal is a controversy for all the wrong reasons as people don't have the understanding and information about the deal, says Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal S B Deo.

“I shouldn't comment but all this discussion (that are) going around on Rafale is because people didn't have information and understanding about the deal. They should read the Defence Procurement Procedure and Offset policy to understand it,” Air Marshal Deo said.

“Rafale is a beautiful and capable aircraft. It gives us the full spectrum of capabilities and an edge in the sub-continent. And we are waiting to fly it,” he said while talking to the media on the sidelines of a CII event here.

With IAF rapidly losing its squadron strength, the Narendra Modi government purchased 36 Rafale aircraft manufactured by French giant Dassault in a Rs 59,000 crore government-to-government deal in 2016.

But the defence contract triggered a huge controversy in the recent months with several political parties led by Congress alleging corruption in the Rafale deal.

On Wednesday, a Delhi-based lawyer filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a hearing and the top court agreed to hear the matter next week.

Asked whether the IAF would prefer to manufacture the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft in the private sector instead of HAL, which has a history of delaying the projects, Deo said he would prefer the private sector.

“The Air Force policy is that anything comes to us quickly and money stays in our country, that's what is required. It is not necessary to know whether the money is with the Defence Public Sector Undertakings or with private company. As long as the money stays in the country, the investment is in the country and aircraft comes out quickly, why should we refuse it?” he said.

Read Also: SC to hear next week plea to stay Rafale deal

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                  Rafale price is 20% cheaper than UPA deal, says Jaitley

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