Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Air chief hails Rafale deal, silent on price

New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Wednesday termed as a “game-changer” the Narendra Modi government’s decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, but refused to disclose their price.

Addressing the annual media conference in Delhi ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, Dhanoa said the Indian Air Force played no role in the deal and that it was French manufacturer “Dassault Aviation that was to select (the) offset partner.”

“The government decided to buy two squadrons through a government-to-government deal to meet emergency requirements. HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) was involved in transfer of technology and licenced production…. So there is no question of HAL being left out. Rafale is a very good aircraft. We have got a good package, got a lot of advantages in the Rafale deal. It will be a game-changer in the sub-continent,” the IAF chief said.

“I cannot make any comment on the price of the fighter aircraft. The price of the jets has already been disclosed by the finance minister.”

Replying to a question whether the IAF was consulted on the decision to reduce the number of jets from 126, as agreed upon by the previous UPA government, to 36, Dhanoa said the final choice was made by the government. “At the appropriate level the IAF was consulted. The IAF had given some options but it is up to the government to choose.”
03/10/18 Telegraph