India needs 250 fighter jets, says Air Force chief Arup Raha

Arup Raha rued that the tender for the much-needed “force multiplierâ€mid-air refuellers had to be withdrawn.

New Delhi: Outgoing IAF chief Arup Raha on Wednesday made it clear that just 36 Rafale fighter jets would not suffice as India needs about 200-250 more fighters to maintain its combat edge over adversaries.

The Air Chief Marshal, who is set to retire on December 31, also rued that the tender for the much-needed “force multiplier” mid-air refuellers had to be withdrawn. He said a fresh tender is in the offing and the procurement will be speeded up. Underlining that the teeth of any air force is the combat fleet, the Air Chief Marshall said that the country needs another production line besides the Tejas.

Terming Rafale as an excellent aircraft, he said it comes in the medium weight spectrum. “It is tremendously capable in all its role. It is a multi-role aircraft and can be used very effectively. It can prove its worth in any situation,” the Air Chief Marshall said. “But we have just ordered 36 aircraft and we require more aircraft in this category,” he added.

IAF chief: Can’t pin-point just one service
In the backdrop of corruption allegations against former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi in the VVIP chopper scam, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Wednesday said multiple agencies are involved in the procurement process and no one can pin the blame on one particular organisation or service. Tyagi, who was given bail recently, has always maintained that all decisions were taken collectively and it is wrong to solely blame him.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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